Plant biodiversity is the foundation of our present-day food supply (including functional food and medicine) and offers humankind multiple other benefits in terms of ecosystem functions and resilience to climate change, as well as other perturbations. This Special Issue on ‘Plant Biodiversity and Genetic Resources’ comprises 32 papers covering a wide array of aspects from the definition and identification of hotspots of wild and domesticated plant biodiversity to the specifics of conservation of genetic resources of crop genepools, including breeding and research materials, landraces and crop wild relatives which collectively are the pillars of modern plant breeding, as well as of localized breeding efforts by farmers and farming communities. The integration of genomics and phenomics into germplasm and genebank management enhances the value of crop germplasm conserved ex situ, and is likely to increase its utilization in plant breeding, but presents major challenges for data management and the sharing of this information with potential users. Furthermore, also a better integration of in situ and ex situ conservation efforts will contribute to a more effective conservation and certainly to a more sustainable and efficient utilization. Other aspects such as policy, access and benefit-sharing that directly impact the use of plant biodiversity and genetic resources, as well as balanced nutrition and enhanced resilience of production systems that depend on their increased use, are also being treated. The editorial concludes with six key messages on plant biodiversity, genetic erosion, genetic resources and plant breeding, agricultural diversification, conservation of agrobiodiversity, and the evolving role and importance of genebanks.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited