The MAFF has been very active in collecting crop genetic resources within Japan and abroad. For example, eight domestic and seven international collecting missions were undertaken in 1996.3 National efforts to collect native crop genetic resources have been on going for many decades. An early comprehensive collecting effort for native rice germplasm was conducted in the 1960s.4 Currently, traditional Japanese upland rice germplasm that was first collected in the 1960s has been the focus of intensive genetic analysis to determine the quantitative trait loci in this germplasm for blast resistance.5 Recently, greater emphasis has been placed on collecting wild relatives of crops in Japan.
Internationally, in recent years multiple collecting trips have been made with collaborators in Pakistan, Russian, the Central Asian republics and Vietnam.6,7 These collecting trips are often followed up by analysis of collected diversity. Thus, for example, the inter- and intra-species diversity of Aegilops
species in Central Asia and northern Caucasus has been determined based on germplasm collected in 1993 and 1994.8
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