Sources of Diversity in Genepools

The total genetic diversity in a crop genepool is the result of:

1. Natural processes unaided by humans;

2. (Wild relatives of crops) crop evolution;

3. Environments; and

4. Formal breeding to create new genetic combinations according to predetermined criteria.

An important feature of genetic diversity within traditional farming systems is that it allows for geneflow between crops and their wild relatives. One way of conceptualizing the geneflow within a crop genepool is as a plant genetic resources (PGR) system with interactions and flows between the three sources of genetic variation. Each of the three sources of diversity, wild relatives, landraces and formal breeding, are characterized by an increasing degree of human control over the process of exchange of genes, and by the reduction of complex environmental factors in the selection process.

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