Crop wild relatives
The wild relatives of our crops have contributed essential traits that support resilient and productive agricultural production.read more
Climate change is impacting agriculture with increasing temperatures, more variable precipitation, and new pest and disease pressures.read more
The world’s plants are under pressure, and crop wild relatives are no exception. There is an urgent need to collect diversity and conserve it for the long-term.read more
Breeding adapted crops
Breeding crops that are productive in changing environments necessitates that wide diversity is conserved and accessible for research.read more
Supporting food security
Diversity provides the foundation for food security, underpinning today’s agriculture and providing the raw material needed for ensuring sustainable future production.read more
Why crop wild relatives and climate change
Adapting agriculture to climate change is one of the most urgent challenges of our time, necessary to ensure that the crops that feed humanity are able to thrive in new climates with changing pest and disease pressures. New crop varieties that are productive under such changes are needed, and to breed these varieties, crop genetic diversity must be conserved and available to plant breeders. An enormously diverse and largely untapped source of this raw material for crop improvement is the wild relatives of our crops. Many crop wild relative species remain uncollected, and therefore unevaluated and unavailable to plant breeders and thus to farmers, and a number of these are at risk of extinction. This website aims to be a resource for those interested in collecting, conserving and using these invaluable resources in the context of adapting agriculture to climate change. We hope it will encourage others to join the race to safeguard and to use crop wild relatives.
We’re becoming more similar: trends in global diet and the consequences for food production and health
Diets worldwide have become much more similar in composition, relying increasingly on a limited set of major crops for the majority of dietary calories, protein, fat, and weight.
Project set to improve the resilience of agriculture under climate change with the help of wild genes – new paper released
Plant collectors and crop breeders from around the world have teamed up to collect, protect and prepare the wild relatives of our most important food crops in a form that can be used to create new varieties that are resilient to climate change.
Elinor Breman, Species Collections Support Officer at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank (MSB), reports on a training workshop that brought partners from across Asia together to learn about collecting, handling and banking the seeds of their crop wild relatives.