“Tomatillos silvestres, tomatillos silvestres!”

A short Smithsonian.com piece by Barry Estabrook does a really outstanding job of describing — no, explaining — the conservation and use of crop wild relatives to a lay audience. It’s all there. The value to crop breeders of genes from wild relatives. The history of germplasm exploration, and how it has resulted in the establishment of large collections. The need for, and urgency of, further collecting. The use of information from genebanks to guide future exploration. The challenges that such work faces, including on the policy side. And the euphoria that it can generate when you do overcome those challenges. All in a couple of pages, using a single wild species as an example. And if, once you finish reading the story, you want to know more about what Estabrook was chasing in Peru, it’s (probably) this.

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