Crop Trust is an international non-profit with a mission of “conserving crop diversity and making it available for use globally, forever, for the benefit of everyone”. Over the past ten years, Crop Trust’s Crop Wild Relatives Project secured nearly 5000 seed samples from 25 countries with the goal of using the genetically diverse crop varieties to help breed more resilient and adaptive varieties which will be better able to withstand extreme weather conditions. One such new variety is Jabal, a durum wheat developed by crossing commercial durum wheat with a wild relative from Syria. Researchers say this new variety can withstand extreme heat and drought.
The Crop Wild Relatives Project prioritized 28 globally important crops including wheat, barley, rice, potato, bean, carrot, and alfalfa. In addition to collecting and conserving wild seed, Crop Trust researchers also ran pre-breeding trials to isolate the most promising genetic traits into breeding lines ready to cross with modern varieties, and maintain publicly accessible databases making it easier for plant breeders to find varieties to work with. Seeds can be requested through the Multilateral System of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
(Photo: Michael Major/Crop Trust)