Vast germplasm collections are accessible but their use for crop improvement is limited—efficiently accessing genetic diversity is still a challenge. Molecular markers have clarified the structure of genetic diversity in a broad range of crops. Recent developments have made whole-genome surveys and gene-targeted surveys possible, shedding light on population dynamics and on the impact of selection during domestication. Thanks to this new precision, germplasm description has gained analytical power for resolving the genetic basis of trait variation and adaptation in crops such as major cereals, chickpea, grapevine, cacao, or banana. The challenge now is to finely characterize all the facets of plant behavior in carefully chosen materials. We suggest broadening the use of ‘core reference sets’ so as to facilitate material sharing within the scientific community.
Glaszmann, J.C.; Kilian, B.; Upadhyaya, H.D.; Varshney, R.K. Accessing genetic diversity for crop improvement. Current Opinion in Plant Biology (2010) 13 (2) 167-173. [DOI: 10.1016/j.pbi.2010.01.004]