Conservation of Genetic Diversity in Culture Plants

Maxim A.

Abstract


The most important international document relating to the conservation of biodiversity is one adopted by the UN in Rio de Janeiro (1992) that "Convention on Biodiversity". Based on this agreement, the EU has taken a series of measures to reduce genetic erosion in agriculture, which grew with the expansion of industrialized agriculture. Throughout its existence, mankind has used some 10,000 growing plant species. According to FAO statistics, today, 90% of food production is ensured by some 120 growing plant species. In addition to drastic reduction in specific diversity, the advent of industrialized agriculture has generated a process of strong genetic erosion. Old varieties and local varieties of crops have mostly been affected, in favour of "modern" varieties. Landraces are characterized by high heterogenity. They have the advantage of being much better adapted to biotic and abiotic stress conditions (diseases, pests, drought, low in nutrients, etc.) and have excellent taste qualities, which can justify a higher price recovery than commercial varieties. Thanks to these features, these crops need small inputs, which correspond to the concept of sustainable development. Landraces are an invaluable genetic potential for obtaining new varieties of plants and are best suited for crop cultivation in ecological systems, becoming more common. Also, for long term food security in the context of global warming, rich genetic diversity will be require. “In situ” and “ex situ” conservation are the two major strategies used in the conservation of plant genetic resources. There is a fundamental difference between these two strategies: “ex situ” conservation involves sampling, transfer and storage of a particular species population away from the original location, while “in situ” conservation (in their natural habitat) implies that the varieties of interest, management and monitoring their place of origin takes place in the community to which they belong. These two strategies should not be viewed as alternatives or in opposition, but a complementary approach is required. Obviously, only the on farm preservation, with traditional technologies, allows a sustainable management of the varieties, because these, in their natural habitat, can continue their evolutionary processes under the pressures of the environment, man, and technology. Romania, with an agricultural area of 14,722 millions Ha, still has a very rich diversity of conservation varieties in plants growing, but they risk losing if appropriate action is taken.

Keywords


agrobiodiversity, landraces, “ex-situ” conservation, ”in-situ” conservation, sustainable development, gene bank, organic farming

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