CIAT’s first-ever video diary: Jarvis brings crop wild relatives in from the cold

3 February, 2011 by (comments)

In the first-ever video diary for the CIAT blog, Andy Jarvis gives us an update from a chilly Kew Gardens in London, UK.

Andy is at Kew for a warm-up meeting relating to CIAT’s role in a new USD50m project from the Global Crop Diversity Trust, funded by the Norwegian government, to collect and conserve some of the world’s most important and endangered wild plant species. In the video he shows some of the Gardens’ collections of crop wild relatives, while explaining the importance of conserving them.

In a message accomanying the video Andy said: “This is seriously exciting and essential work, with enormous potential benefits.The top priority is to work on 26 gene pools of crop wild relatives, covering over 450 species. Then we have a further 54 gene pools that we’ll work on more superficially. Then we’ll collate all the information on how well each of those species is already conserved, and their distribution around the world.

“Then we’ll be ready to do what we call ‘gap analysis’ – this involves defining which species are the highest priority for collection and conservation, and exactly where we need to go to find them. These are plants that could have extremely useful traits, which agricultural scientists could use to improve domesticated crops, to make them more resilient to climate change, for example. Then, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, will develop collecting guides, after which collections will officially begin around the world.”

Many thanks to Andy for the video diary – next time, we’ll ask him to try and do it away from one of the world’s busiest flight paths.

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Filed Under: Climate Change, Crop diversity, Multimedia @en