Unlocking Plant Genetic Diversity for Food and Nutritional Security

Saturday, February 13, 2016: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Wilson A (Marriott Wardman Park)
Producing sufficient food to meet the nutritional needs of a burgeoning global population in an era of climate change presents an unprecedented challenge. Genetically-improved cultivars, proven to be locally-adaptive, high yielding, and nutrient-rich, are critical for food security. This symposium reviews the current status of  crop genetic diversity worldwide, including the international system in place to conserve plant germplasm collections. Speakers provide compelling examples of the contributions of plant genetic resources to improved yield, adaptability, disease and insect resistance, and nutritional quality of the crop species that sustain human existence. Despite the successes, much of the available genetic diversity remains underutilized. Therefore, a key theme will be the integration of plant breeding and genomics-derived technologies. This integrated approach has the potential to revolutionize the identification and incorporation of useful genes from plant germplasm collections into adapted cultivars to provide for the full range of agricultural production systems and human needs.
Patrick Byrne, Colorado State University
Ann Marie Thro, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Wayne Smith, Texas A&M University
Paul Heisey, USDA
Paula Bramel, The Crop Trust
Crop Diversity: Why It Matters
Chiedozie Egesi, National Root Crops Research Institute
Bringing Cassava Breeding into the 21st Century
Walter Trevisan, Genetic Enhancement of Maize Project
Increasing Genetic Diversity in Public- and Private-Sector Maize Breeding World-Wide
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