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Farmers' BountyLocating Crop Diversity in the Contemporary World$
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Stephen B. Brush

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780300100495

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300100495.001.0001

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Genetic Erosion of Crop Populations in Centers of Diversity: A Revision

Genetic Erosion of Crop Populations in Centers of Diversity: A Revision

(p.153) 7 Genetic Erosion of Crop Populations in Centers of Diversity: A Revision
Farmers' Bounty

Stephen B. Brush

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the issue of genetic erosion, and attempts to deconstruct the history of this scientific and agricultural policy problem. The threat of genetic erosion helped spur a large international effort to collect and conserve genetic resources that are the heritage of generations of crop evolution. The concept of genetic erosion is plausible, but it was formulated without the benefit of detailed case studies of crop ecology in cradle areas of crop evolution. The chapter finds that although genetic erosion has occurred in many cropping systems, there is now ample evidence that it is a complex and context-dependent process conditioned by local differences in environment, economy, and culture. In some cases, local conditions have limited genetic erosion. The chapter also reveals that the hypotheses which are the logical underpinning of the genetic erosion concept are disputed by ecological and cross-sectional analysis.

Keywords:   genetic erosion, agricultural policy, genetic resources, crop ecology, ecological analysis

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