Global analysis to save the wild side of staple food crops
A renewed sense of urgency
In the UK, crop wild relatives of apple, carrot and the fodder crops, alfafa and vetch, are of high priority for collection.
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.
Another crop wild relative is thought to be extinct in the wild. Solanum ruvu, a wild relative of aubergine, was collected for the first time in Tanzania in 2000, and by the time it had been identified as a new plant species its native habitat had been destroyed. Further attempts to find it have failed so Solanum ruvu is now likely to be extinct, and any useful traits contained in this plant species, such as salt tolerance, pest resistance and disease resistance, have been lost.
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