Cereals uri icon

abstract

  • The tropical cereal crops such as maize, rice, sorghum, and millets, are the staple foods of billions of people in developing countries. Their sustainable improvement is crucial to achieving food security in the face of climate change in the growing demand for food. The need to conserve the diversity of these crops and their wild relatives is therefore particularly important. This chapter outlines the diversity within each crop pool and summarizes their state of conservation ex situ. Many of the 1,750+ genebanks around the world contain accessions of at least one of these crops and their wild relatives, and altogether there are thousands of accessions of each of them. A significant proportion of this germplasm is freely distributed to scientists and breeders around the world with the Standard Material Transfer Agreement of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. However, this use can be effective only if the germplasm and associated passport, characterization, and evaluation data are readily available. As additional insurance against loss of diversity, many accessions are now also conserved in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway

publication date

  • 2013