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Contents

  1. Crop Wild Relatives
  2. Post navigation
  3. Phenological Plasticity of Wild and Cultivated Plants
  4. Crop Wild Relatives Global Portal

For example, introduction of potato wild species collected during expeditions in South and Central Americas into breeding practice allowed the widespread cultivation of this crop over all of Russia due to acquired traits of earliness, improved storability, and resistance to diseases and pests. As a result, by the end of the 20th century, potato yield increased two to four times.

Using the traits of earliness and cold tolerance in the breeding of wheat, oat, sunflower, soybean, cotton, rice, maize, and other crops helped to extend their cultivation areas far into the north. Recent data on distribution of VIR materials to breeding centers and genebanks in Russia and internationally are presented in Table 4. Eighty percent of all varieties and hybrids currently cultivated in the country have VIR's accessions in their pedigree. For example, over rye, oat, and barley cultivars were released on the basis of VIR materials, and of them have already been used in agricultural production.

Identification of a dominant dwarf gene in VIR rye collection initiated the world's general trend in winter rye breeding—development of nonlodging cultivars. VIR collections and research significantly contributed to the introduction of new food species into cultivation in Russia, such as spelt wheat, amaranth, Chinese cabbage, Stevia , cherry plum, sea buckthorn, Actinidia , honeysuckle, and so on, and to growing crops on acidic, desert, and polluted lands, including phytoremediants, ameliorants, and edificators.

For example, new arid forage crops have been introduced into the near-Caspian areas, such as Eurotia , Kochia prostrata , and saxaul. The collection plays the leading role in conservation and improvement of major crops and mitigating their vulnerability to biotic and abiotic stressors.

These accessions often carry genes valuable for breeding and crop production, such as genes of resistance to various pathogens; hence, they may be in demand at a certain stage. For example, using the genetic diversity of wild potato species lost in natural environments, but preserved in the collections, allowed potato breeders to develop cultivars resistant to late blight and other diseases.

Representatives of remote and rare species, crop wild relatives, landraces, and varieties with diverse pedigrees, when used in breeding practice, expand the pool of valuable genes determining agronomic and economic traits, broaden the hereditary base of the developed cultivars, reduce their vulnerability, and help them resist stressors. Using accessions from VIR collection allowed the revival of breeding and cultivation of crops previously discarded from the production.

These included industrial crops such as false flax, Taraxacum kok-saghyz , oil-bearing spurge, castor bean, Crambe , or Eruca , which attracted keen attention when searching for new raw materials, alternative fuels, natural rubber or nonfreezing lubricants.


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Comprehensive studies during the past 10 years allowed VIR's researchers to identify and develop over 20, sources and donors of gene and polygene alleles valuable for breeders, and establish numerous trait-specific and genetic collections mini-cores of major crops for targeted utilization in breeding programs. New effective alleles, rare ones or those earlier ignored by breeders, which determine photoperiodic sensitivity and response to vernalization, resistance to pathogens and other traits, were identified and mapped. Marking and molecular mapping quantitative trait loci allowed researchers to find, identify, and perform a controlled transfer of chromosome loci determining expression of economically useful traits such as resistance to biotic and abiotic stressors, quality, and productivity.

Genetic diversity of accessions in the collection studied by conventional technologies and innovative molecular genetic approaches, including genomics, molecular marking, mapping, and bioinformatics, serves as a powerful base of valuable source material and an instrumental mechanism of effective breeding development. As the national genetic resources center with over years of history, VIR has been responsible for mobilization, conservation, evaluation, and utilization of PGR in Russia and involved in the development of relevant governmental programs and legal instruments.

Over species of crop wild relatives occur in Russia within their natural populations—they are potential carriers of alleles valuable for breeding. Many of them are now under the threat of extinction and require measures toward their safeguarding. The problems of PGR conservation in genebanks, within natural plant communities and on farms, and their sustainable utilization are listed among the five top priorities of national security in most of the world's countries, including Russia.

These problems need to be solved both at national and international levels, because countries are not self-sufficient and depend on each other in the context of PGR. However, with new challenges of globalization and emergence of new technologies, climate change and rapid genetic erosion, profound modifications should be made in the national and international policies in the area of crop agricultural biodiversity conservation and utilization.

Crop Wild Relatives

The importance of VIR's collections and activities in providing solutions to plant breeding and production problems in Russia as well as their role in solving the problem of food supply has been emphasized at several international forums. The former minister of agriculture, E. Skrynnik, informed the delegates at the FAO World Summit on Food Security Rome, that Russia is ready to make VIR's collection available for the worldwide community, considering possible climate changes and the common interest of all countries in the reduction of the starvation and poverty level in the world.

Despite the first approval, the program was not funded or implemented. Later, genetic resources conservation was prioritized in the list of national programs, which was approved by the President and Government of the Russian Federation.


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  • The main idea of the proposed National Program is to combine governmental and nongovernmental measures to create the most favorable environment for secure ex situ and in situ conservation of genetic resources, development of fundamental and applied research in the area of agricultural biodiversity, avoiding duplication of activities, enhancement of valuable plant diversity mobilization possibilities, expansion of the national genetic diversity by targeted collecting missions over Russia and other countries, as well as through international germplasm exchange, and efficient and sustainable utilization of bioresources with the help of new technologies and scientific achievements.

    The National Program will support effective coordination of PGR-related activities within the country and help to establish solid partnerships between governmental and private institutions holding ex situ collections.

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    It will also open the floor for further discussion and adoption of new international agreements, including the issues of access and benefit sharing as well as to implement large-scale and mutually beneficial international and regional cooperation, while observing the national interests. Thus, the proposed National Program on Genetic Resources of Cultivated Plants and Their Wild Relatives of the Russian Federation represents the basic instrument and main mechanism in achieving the goals of mobilization, conservation, and sustainable utilization of agricultural biodiversity components, as it would help to implement relevant activities at the national and international levels.

    The National Program will become an integral part of the National Strategy and National Plan of Action in the area of biodiversity conservation in the Russian Federation.

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    National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Biopreservation and Biobanking. Biopreserv Biobank. Published online Oct Dzyubenko 1.

    Phenological Plasticity of Wild and Cultivated Plants

    Dzyubenko The N. Find articles by N. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Address correspondence to: N.

    Beyond the Gardens: The Crop Wild Relatives Project

    Dzyubenko, PhD, The N. Petersburg , Russia ur. Abstract N. Conservation of dynamic populations in situ as an alternative to ex situ , poses a significant challenge because interests of traditional farmers might not coincide with national and international agencies that promote industrial agriculture. In situ conservation averts the challenge posed in ex situ by permitting cultivated plants to evolve with changing environments. Today, as the cost of food increases, conservation of this global patrimony of cultivated plant germplasm is a task requiring vigilance.

    Historically agriculture has encountered numerous ecological challenges pests, pathogens, adaptation, culinary preferences, and increasing demand that are often overcome by resorting to genes found in landraces, breeders stocks and wild relatives. Examples abound. The corn blight Bipolaris maydis in the southern US during the s, the current wheat rust epidemics in Africa and Asia, as well as the Xanthomonas wilt that threatens extinction of the Cavendish variety of bananas all require novel sources of germplasm from farmers who continue to propagate traditional varieties of crops Figure 1.

    Insuring future agricultural yields will feed the world's expanding populations relies on the conservation of cultivated plants. The predators and parasites of crop plants evolve to take advantage of the ever increasing populations of their prey and continual inputs of resistance or immunities are necessary from genetically diverse populations of farmer's varieties, land races, breeders stocks and elite lines of multinational industrial life science corporations.

    The escalating arms races pitting parasite rust fungus, lepidopteran larvae against prey cultivated plant is guaranteed. Xanthomonas wilts. Corn blight, B. Corn blight Bipolaris maydis destroys maize particularly varieties that have Texas type cytoplasmic male sterility A , the current wheat rust Ug99 epidemics in Africa and Middle East B , as well as the Xanthomonas wilts that threatens extinction of banana varieties C. Photos courtesy of: A. Nature Education. Growth of the human population and disparate patterns of resource consumption among nations provoke extinction Ehrlich and Goulder For example, the US consumes more oil per day than twice that used by China more than five times as much as India and much more of the illicit drugs produced in the world.

    Modernizing rice agriculture to feed greater numbers in China and India displaces indigenous landraces and endemic cultivars.

    Crop Wild Relatives Global Portal

    Production of avocados, palm kernel oil and natural rubber FAO in Indonesia or Malaysia displaces indigenous populations of rattan, rambutan and rice. Marijuana cultivation in Latin American displaces endemic maize landraces and cultivars. Most of these displacements are due to increased national food security demands and the disparate consumption patterns by the US and Europe.

    Loss of cultivated plant diversity — so-called genetic erosion — results from these forces operating in culturally traditional agricultural habitats. While displacement of traditional crop varieties by modern varieties can be expected as technological innovation, extinction of cultivated crop plants is a conundrum that we have and should not take lightly. In , the United Nations convention on biological diversity CBD embraced the imminent sixth mass extinction.

    Signatory countries assumed the responsibility for complete inventory of the biodiversity within their borders including domesticated species of plants and animals that sustain agricultural needs UNEP Signatory states made efforts to comply by conducting thorough inventories of biological diversity including cultigens , their wild relatives and systematic collection of cultivars throughout their sovereign lands e.

    During the last 12, years, humans changed their subsistence systems from hunting and gathering to food production. Efforts to produce food yielded domesticated species, crop plants and animals that depend on humans for their survival and perpetuation. These crop plants provide the majority of the current human populations' nutritional needs. Artificial selection and genetic drift left indelible marks on cultivated and domesticated plant populations: reduced genetic diversity resulted from genetic bottlenecks and selection for perceptual distinctiveness.

    In spite of rapid and widespread dispersal from the Vavilovian centers Figure 2 where initial domestication took place, perhaps as much as 7 percent of genetic loci in some cultigens show the effects of genetic bottlenecks.