Using Wild Relatives to Toughen up Staple Crops
18 April 2021
Crop wild relatives are the ancient ancestors of our domesticated crops. Because they have been growing in the wild for millions of years, crop wild relatives have naturally developed characteristics that allow them to survive in unfavorable, hostile environments.
Among those notable traits are disease and pest resistance, and their ability to thrive in water-scarce and extremely hot conditions. Through domestication and crop breeding, many of these vital traits have been lost.
Successfully passing on these attributes to modern crops, whose productivity is hampered by climate change, could ensure the future of food and nutrition security for humanity.