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plant genetic resources for food and agriculture - FAO

plant genetic resources for food and agriculture - FAO

THE STATE OF USE 4.5

THE STATE OF USE 4.5 Crops and traits The crop focus of breeding programmes varies across countries and regions, but there has been little change since the first SoW report was published. In general, based on data from the country reports and information from the FAO Statistical Database (FAOSTAT) programme, 23 investment in crop improvement seems to mirror a crop’s economic importance. Thus, major crops are still receiving more breeding investments than all other crops. Nevertheless, several country reports highlighted the increased importance of giving attention to underutilized crops (see Section 4.9.2). In the Americas region, for example, Latin America invests major resources in improving rice, maize, grain legumes and sugar cane, with some countries, including Ecuador and Uruguay, also devoting considerable efforts to roots and tubers. Coffee, cocoa and fruits also feature strongly. North America concentrates on major food staples, such as maize, wheat, rice and potato, but also invests heavily in improving pasture species, fruits and vegetables. Brazil and North America now invest heavily in biofuel, as do an increasing number of other countries, including several in Asia. However, in most cases attention is focused on the genetic improvement of existing major crops for biofuel use rather than on new biofuel crops such as switch grass or jatropha. In Africa, countries in the East and Central regions and the coastal areas of West Africa tend to concentrate on breeding maize and roots and tubers, especially cassava, while the Sahelian countries mainly seek improvement for rice, cotton, millet and sorghum. The Near East and North Africa countries allocate substantial resources to improving wheat, barley, lentils, chickpeas, fruits and vegetables while South Asia concentrates on rice but also invests heavily in some industrial and high value crops. Sri Lanka’s country report, for example, details the substantial contribution of fruits and vegetables to the national economy. Central Asian countries mainly invest in improving cotton and cereals, particularly wheat, but they are also responding to the expanding market for fruits in Asia. Eastern Europe directs most effort to fruits and vegetables while Central Europe gives greatest attention to cereals such as barley and wheat. According to the country reports, the principal traits sought by plant breeders continue to be those related to yield per unit area of the primary product. In addition to increasing actual yield potential, attention is paid to tolerance, avoidance or resistance to pests, diseases and abiotic stresses. Among the latter, drought, salinity, acid soil and heat are all important in the light of continuing land degradation, the expansion of production onto more marginal land and climate change. The priority given to breeding against biotic threats has changed little over the past ten years: disease resistance remains the most important trait, especially for major staple crops. While the potential value of exploiting polygenic resistance has long been recognized, the complexity of breeding and the generally lower levels of resistance as a result, have meant that many breeders still tend to rely largely on major genes. Breeding for climate change per se did not feature markedly in the country reports, although it was mentioned by a few, including Germany, the Netherlands, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Uruguay. However, a growing interest in the topic is apparent in scientific literature and some plant breeding programmes are beginning to take the issue into account more overtly. Of course many address this indirectly, particularly through breeding for abiotic and biotic stress resistance, tolerance or avoidance. Breeding for low-input and organic agriculture was also rarely mentioned in-country reports, but it too is becoming a focus in some programmes, as is breeding for specific nutritional traits. Special attention may be paid to plant breeding in the event of high profile catastrophes such as severe and widespread pests and diseases. This was the case, for example, with the epidemic of brown-streak virus in cassava in Eastern and Southern Africa and wheat stem rust race Ug99 that led to the creation of the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI). 24 4.6 Breeding approaches for use of PGRFA Plant breeders have at their disposal a wide range of breeding approaches, tools and methods for crop 103

CHAPTER 4 improvement. While the first SoW report makes reference to many of them, this report will only discuss pre-breeding; base-broadening and PPB (highlighted in Article 6 of the ITPGRFA), in which significant developments have occurred over the last decade. 4.6.1 Pre-breeding and basebroadening Priority Activity Area 10 of the GPA lists genetic enhancement and base-broadening as priority activities. Pre-breeding was recognized in many country reports as an important adjunct to plant breeding, as a way to introduce new traits from non-adapted populations and wild relatives. Broadening the genetic base of crops to reduce genetic vulnerability was also regarded as important, but in spite of certain progress that has been made over the past ten years and the increasing availability of molecular tools, there is still a long way to go. Country reports indicated the use of different methods to assess genetic diversity and to implement pre-breeding and base-broadening strategies. Disease resistance is the main trait sought, but a few country reports also indicated that new variability was necessary to increase the opportunities to breed for complex traits such as abiotic stresses and even yield potential. For example, Cuba reported using both conventional and molecular marker techniques to exploit the genetic variability of beans, tomatoes and potatoes and to design strategies to broaden the genetic base of such crops. Tajikistan, in its country report, stated that “… participation in international and regional cooperation networks can be an efficient way of broadening the genetic base of the local breeding programmes”. Brazil presented several examples of the use of wild species to expand the genetic base of different crop species. Box 4.2, for example, shows the case of passion fruit (Passiflora spp.). Pre-breeding occupies a unique and often crucial step between genetic resources conserved in collections and their use by plant breeders. In some countries, plant breeders carry out pre-breeding activities as a matter of course; in others, such as Ethiopia and the Russian Federation, the national genetic resources programmes participate strongly. 104 THE SECOND REPORT ON THE STATE OF THE WORLD’S PGRFA Many of the problems associated with increasing pre-breeding activities are similar to those relating to the wider issue of broadening genetic diversity within crops. NISM data on obstacles to increasing genetic diversity as well as diversifying crop production are summarized in Table 4.4. It is evident from the table that the most serious constraints relate to marketing and commerce. 4.6.2 Farmers’ participation and farmer breeding PPB is the process by which farmers participate with trained, professional plant breeders to make decisions on plant breeding. Farmer breeding refers to the process that has gone on for millennia whereby farmers themselves slowly improve crops through their own intentional or inadvertent selection and even hybridization. According to the country reports, farmer’s participation in plant breeding activities has increased in all regions over the past decade, in line with Priority Activity Area 11 of the GPA. Several countries reported using PPB approaches as part of their PGRFA management strategies; Table 4.5 provides examples. As farmers are in the best position to understand a crop’s limitations and potential within their own farming system, their involvement in the breeding process has obvious advantages. These have been noted in many of the country reports. Several developing countries, including the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Guatemala, Jordan, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mexico and Nepal, reported that for certain crops, participatory breeding approaches are the most suitable way to develop varieties adapted to farmers’ needs. Several countries rely almost exclusively on participatory methods to develop improved varieties. Currently, there are national and international organizations that devote significant resources to promoting and supporting participatory breeding programmes, for example, Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD) in Nepal and the Working Group on PPB established in 1996 under the framework of the CGIAR System-wide Programme on Participatory Research and Gender Analysis (PRGA).

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    The Second Report on THE STATE OF T

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    Appendix 2 Major germplasm collecti

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    3.2 Holders of the six largest ex s

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    The CGRFA requested that the SoWPGR

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    Chapter 7 - Access to plant genetic

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    Executive summary �his report des

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    documentation and characterization

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    TABLE 1.2 Comparison between the co

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    CHAPTER 1 in national agricultural

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    FIGURE 1.1 Global priority genetic

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    12 CHAPTER 1 AFRICA • Benin Molec

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    14 CHAPTER 1 NEAR EAST effective at

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    CHAPTER 1 comparisons, or use the i

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    TABLE 1.4 (continued) Indicators of

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    CHAPTER 1 even national, germplasm

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    24 CHAPTER 1 9 Hammer, K. 2003. A p

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    26 CHAPTER 1 X. & Li, Z. 2006. Gene

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    THE STATE OF IN SITU MANAGEMENT 2.1

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    Chapter 7 Access to Plant Genetic R

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    THE CONTRIBUTION OF PGRFA TO FOOD S

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    THE CONTRIBUTION OF PGRFA TO FOOD S

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    THE CONTRIBUTION OF PGRFA TO FOOD S

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    THE CONTRIBUTION OF PGRFA TO FOOD S

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    THE CONTRIBUTION OF PGRFA TO FOOD S

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    THE CONTRIBUTION OF PGRFA TO FOOD S

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    THE CONTRIBUTION OF PGRFA TO FOOD S

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    LIST OF COUNTRIES THAT PROVIDED INF

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    LIST OF COUNTRIES THAT PROVIDED INF

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    Annex 2 Regional distribution of co

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    EUROPE 214 ANNEX 2 ASIA AND THE PAC

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    STATUS BY COUNTRY OF NATIONAL LEGIS

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    STATUS BY COUNTRY OF NATIONAL LEGIS

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    STATUS BY COUNTRY OF NATIONAL LEGIS

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    STATUS BY COUNTRY OF NATIONAL LEGIS

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    STATUS BY COUNTRY OF NATIONAL LEGIS

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    STATUS BY COUNTRY OF NATIONAL LEGIS

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    STATUS BY COUNTRY OF NATIONAL LEGIS

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    STATUS BY COUNTRY OF NATIONAL LEGIS

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    STATUS BY COUNTRY OF NATIONAL LEGIS

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    STATUS BY COUNTRY OF NATIONAL LEGIS

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    MAJOR GERMPLASM COLLECTIONS BY CROP

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    MAJOR GERMPLASM COLLECTIONS BY CROP

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    THE STATE-OF-THE-ART: METHODOLOGIES

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    THE STATE-OF-THE-ART: METHODOLOGIES

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    THE STATE-OF-THE-ART: METHODOLOGIES

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    THE STATE-OF-THE-ART: METHODOLOGIES

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    Appendix 4 State of diversity of ma

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    APPENDIX 4 some country reports. 6

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    APPENDIX 4 option for perennial tax

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    APPENDIX 4 (wild one-grain wheat, T

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    APPENDIX 4 regeneration of existing

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    APPENDIX 4 An operational comprehen

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    APPENDIX 4 FIGURE A4.2 Global yield

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    APPENDIX 4 Role of crop in sustaina

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    APPENDIX 4 and Myanmar (3 percent).

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    APPENDIX 4 progenitor is the wild s

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    appendiX 4 Ex situ conservation sta

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    APPENDIX 4 Documentation, character

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    APPENDIX 4 The two global chickpea

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    APPENDIX 4 in collections, absence

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    APPENDIX 4 FIGURE A4.5 Global yield

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    338 APPENDIX 4 are also conserved.

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    340 APPENDIX 4 WebPDF/Crop percent2

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    342 APPENDIX 4 90 Op cit. Endnote 2

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    344 APPENDIX 4 159 GCDT. 2007. Glob

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    346 APPENDIX 4 217 Op cit. Endnote

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    348 APPENDIX 4 291 Op cit. Endnote

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    350 APPENDIX 4 366 Ibid. Endnote 35

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    BAAFS Beijing Academy of Agricultur

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    CN Centre Néerlandais (Côte d’I

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    DTRUFC División of Tropical Resear

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    HRIGRU Horticultural Research Inter

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    INIA CARI Centro Regional de Invest

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    IVM Institute of Grape and Wine «M

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    NISM National Information Sharing M

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    REHOVOT Department of Field and Veg

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    SRI Sugar Crop Research Institute,

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    WCMC World Conservation Monitoring

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