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Descriptors for quinoa and its wild relatives

As part of activities to celebrate the 2013 International Year of Quinoa, Bioversity International and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) have released an updated version of the descriptors for quinoa and its wild relatives.

As part of activities to celebrate the 2013 International Year of Quinoa, Bioversity International and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have released an updated list after 30 years of Descriptores para quinua (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) y sus parientes silvestres (Descriptors for quinoa and its wild relatives).

This publication is a result of collaboration with the Foundation for the Promotion and Research of Andean Products (Fundación para la Promoción e Investigación de Productos Andinos, PROINPA), the National Institute of Agricultural and Forestry Innovation (Instituto Nacional de Innovación Agropecuaria y Forestal, INIAF) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), with the financial support of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) through Semillas Andinas Project.

This work is a revision of the original Bioversity publication dated 1981. More than 50 experts from 10 countries and 30 organizations and national programmes collaborated in this effort to evaluate the genetic variability of quinoa conserved in germplasm collections, providing a minimum key set of descriptors useful for characterization and use, including nutritional aspects.

Descriptors provide an international language for plant genetic resources data, key to facilitate the exchange, conservation, management and use of plant genetic resources.

Quinoa is a very ancient crop that has been cultivated for centuries in the Andean region. It is a healthy food due to its high nutritional value. It has a high protein content, contains all of the essential amino acids and it is rich in minerals fatty acids and vitamins.

In this context, quinoa can contribute to the various regional initiatives for food biodiversity, security and nutrition in developing countries.

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