Genebanks - treasures of biodiversity

More than 10,000 years ago, men began cultivating animals and crops as food sources. This agricultural revolution led to the domestication process, in which the early 'plant growers' consciously or unconsciously selected among wild germplasm the material that was best adapted for human use and cultivation, i.e. increased storage organs, even germination, reduced dormancy and early maturation. These so-called landraces were passed from growing season to season and included materials that were adapted to various environmental conditions such as drought or altitude. Landraces could thus produce stable but not outstanding yields under varying conditions.
 
Prof. Dr. Andreas Graner
Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK)
Gatersleben, Germany