Getting past that 75%

by Luigi Guarino on May 26, 2013

China has lost 90% of the wheat varieties it had 60 years ago. The US has lost over 90% of the fruit tree and vegetable varieties it had at the start of the 20th century. Mexico has lost 80% of its corn varieties, India 90% of its rice varieties. In Spain, the number of melon varieties has gone down from nearly 400 in the early 1970s to a dozen.

What, not 75%? Anyway, too bad there are no references, but the Indian figure may come from the sources we discussed a while back. And of course “lost” is too dramatic. Some varieties may no longer be grown by farmers, but could still be in genebanks. But it is good to see a trope that’s well past its sell-by date being avoided for once.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike J. May 26, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Might be useful to consult this paper in terms of loss of genetic diversity:
Ford-Lloyd, B.V., D. Brar, G.S. Khush, M.T. Jackson & P.S. Virk, 2008. Genetic erosion over time of rice landrace agrobiodiversity. Plant Genetic Resources: Characterization and Utilization 7(2), 163-168.

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Jeremy Cherfas May 26, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Perhaps it might be … if only it weren’t behind a paywall.

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Luigi Guarino August 9, 2017 at 8:50 am

Should be obtainable from here.

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