Farmers, Gene Banks, and Crop Breeding: Introduction and Overview

  • M. Smale
  • M. R. Bellon
  • P. L. Pirigali


There is no novelty in the idea that biological diversity among plant and animal species and genetic diversity among subspecies are essential to scientific advance and the future of human society. The fundamental importance of genetic diversity to crop improvement and agricultural systems has long been evident to plant breeders, conservators, agronomists, entomologists, and pathologists. To improve a crop or enhance its resistance to environmental stresses and disease, plant breeders have relied on the genetic diversity in their working collections, on collections of genetic resources stored in gene banks, and on those varieties maintained and selected by farmers. Today, biotechnology and genetic engineering promise to break the biological barriers imposed on conventional plant breeding by incorporating desirable genes and gene complexes from wild relatives and across species.


Genetic Resource Crop Diversity Farm Household Gene Bank Modern Variety 
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Smale
  • M. R. Bellon
  • P. L. Pirigali

There are no affiliations available

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