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Wild Seed Collectors Turn Indiana Jones In Search For Resilient Crops

“More than 370 species were gathered during a six-year mission to widen the gene pool and ensure future food security”.

“The seeds of more than 370 wild crop species have been collected as part of a six-year Indiana Jones-style mission to widen the gene pool of staple crops and ensure future global food security in increasingly unpredictable growing conditions.

A hundred scientists from 25 countries travelled by horse, canoe and even elephant to reach remote corners of the world in search of wild species of common agricultural crops such as rice, barley, beans and potatoes that billions of people rely on for basic nutrition.

Domesticated crops are generally selected for their high yield and nutritional value but this means they have dangerously low genetic diversity. Their wild relatives – many of which are at risk of extinction – are sturdier because they have evolved to survive more challenging conditions.”

Phoebe Weston reports for the Guardian December 2, 2019.


“How Peru’s Potato Museum Could Stave Off World Food Crisis” (Guardian)

“Raiders Of The Lost Crops: Scientists Race Against Time To Save Genetic Diversity” (NPR)