With food prices skyrocketing and climate change looming, the world needs a green revolution like the one a generation ago. But many valuable seed varieties have been lost – and scientists now are scrambling to protect those that remain before they vanish down the genetic drain, writes Fred Pearce in Yale Environment360.
The world’s heritage of seed diversity is the product of thousands of years of experimental plant breeding by millions of farmers across the world. The crops that humanity has painstakingly bred from wild plants are the kernels of our civilization. When the first farmers planted the first crops 10,000 years ago, the planet could support just 5 million people. Today, thanks to seeds, it feeds 7 billion.