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Major global analysis offers hope for saving the wild side of staple food crops
Date:7/22/2013

elatives are high priority species for collection

  • Important cereal crops in much of Africa, including sorghum and finger millet, are also at high risk and the collection of their wild relatives is being prioritised

  • Countries with the richest number of priority crop wild relatives include: Australia, Bolivia, China, Cyprus, Ecuador, Ethiopia, India, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Mozambique, Peru, Portugal, South Africa, Turkey and USA. Although these countries are mostly located in the traditionally recognised centres of high wild crop diversity, notable exceptions are USA, Australia and the European countries. For example, northern Australia has been identified as rich in the wild relatives of African staple sorghum

  • This highlights the important role that the wild plant resources in industrialised countries have to contribute to food security in developing nations. It is expected that there will be collecting in Italy and Portugal this summer, carried out by scientists from Kew's Millennium Seed Bank and local partners

  • Adding urgency to the need for field collections, some of the crop wild relatives on the priority list are believed to be threatened by factors such as habitat loss. For example, the wild cousin, Phaseolus persistentus, of the common bean from Central America

  • One is thought to be extinct in the wild, Solanum ruvu, a wild relative of eggplant (aubergine), which comes from Tanzania


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  • Contact: Bronwyn Friedlander
    pr@kew.org
    44-020-833-25607
    Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
    Source:Eurekalert

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