Crop genetic diversity — which is crucial for feeding humanity, for the environment and for sustainable development — is being lost at an alarming rate. Given the enormous interdependence of countries and generations on this genetic diversity, this loss raises critical socio-economic, ethical and political questions. The recent ratification of a binding international treaty, and the development of powerful new technologies to conserve and use resources more effectively, have raised expectations that must now be fulfilled.
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I am very grateful to M. Rucli and M. Smith for their important assistance in the preparation of this paper. I also want to thank F. Ayala, D. Boerma, C. Correa, C. Fowler, P. Gulick, G. Hawtin, T. Hodgkin, C. Stannard, S. Tanksley, E. Tewolde and Á. Toledo for their contributions. This paper expresses the views of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of FAO and its member countries.
The author declares no competing financial interests.
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Esquinas-Alcázar, J. Protecting crop genetic diversity for food security: political, ethical and technical challenges. Nat Rev Genet 6, 946–953 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrg1729
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