Revisiting Biodiversity of Crop Genepools
Andrés J Cortés*
1Corporación Colombiana de Investigación Agropecuaria AGROSAVIA, Colombia
2Departamento de Ciencias Forestales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia
*Corresponding author: Andrés J Cortés, Corporación Colombiana de Investigación Agropecuaria AGROSAVIA, C.I. La Selva, Km 7 vía Rionegro – Las Palmas, Rionegro, Colombia; Universidad Nacional de Colombia – Sede Medellín, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias – Departamento de Ciencias Forestales, Medellín, Colombia
Received: April 29, 2021 Accepted: May 17, 2021 Published: May 19, 2021
Citation: Cortés AJ. Revisiting Biodiversity of Crop Genepools. Int J. Agri Res Env Sci. 2021;2(1):25‒26. DOI: 10.51626/ijares.2021.02.00009
Crop diversity has typically served as a source of novel variants for breeding programs, focusing on yield, quality and nutrition . More recently, it has also assisted addressing basic questions in the field of genetics such as the repeatability of the domestication process [2-4], and the nature of the migration-selection balance in the face of mutation [5-8] and recombination rate variation . Meanwhile, going beyond crop diversity and exploring crop wild relatives is equally promising, specially in the face of adaptation to current climate change . Wild accessions offer an expanded genepool in terms of phenotypic innovation  and genetic diversity . For instance, the wild is likely to exhibit pre-adapted variants advantageous to polygenic adaptation , such as drought [14-18] and heat [19,20] tolerance. However, merging crop and wild genepools remains challenging from a technical point of view due to phenological and genetic incompatibilities, sometimes bridged via recurrent backcrossing schemes, not to mention the adoption gaps when handling wild materials and early landraces with the potential to serve as novel crops . Hence, leveraging novel approaches [10,19,22] are urgently required to better couple agro- and bio-diversity, both in current hotspots as well as in evolutionary cradles . Of particular interest are the tropical regions [24,25], which not only maintain unparsed diversity  but are also the most vulnerable in terms of climate change  and crops’ market volatility.
International Journal on Agriculture Research and Environmental Sciences (IJARES) is a nascent journal that is presently launching its second issue, and that has the potential to lead a trans-disciplinary inclusive discussion aiming to promote integrative perspectives for harnessing crop wild diversity. The success of any trans-disciplinary effort is conditioned to a bidirectional dialogue among heterogeneous forums. As part of this interaction, my colleagues and I are currently pushing a couple of Special Issues focused on biodiversity of crop genepools, that can certainly complement and promote IJARES’s scope from other arenas.
The first one, Genes’ “Evolutionary Genetics of Plant Crop-Wild Complexes: From Fundamental to Applied Research” (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/genes/special_issues/Plant_Crop_Wild), aims to summarize basic and applied approaches on the evolutionary genetics of plant crop–wild complexes in order to identify current paradigms, methods, and caveats that are widely being used or currently being developed to study crop–wild complexes. It envisions bringing together the hottest topics addressed when investigating genetics and adaptation of crops, their wild relatives, and their abiotic and biotic interactions, by encouraging works in the diverse fields of evolutionary genetics of crop wild relatives, genetic and genomic consequences of domestication, role of crop–wild gene flow during domestication and adaptation, evolutionary genetics of undomesticated plants and trees with bio-economic potential, and wild relatives in the improvement of crops and trees.
The second one, Agronomy’s “Omics Approaches for Crop Improvement” (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/agronomy/special_issues/crop_omics_genetic), envisions offering updated views on multidimensional large-scale omics-based approaches with the potential to be applied at crop-wild systems that are still in their infancy. Specifically, we encourage studies that explore the uses of the omics paradigm, and their integration through trans-disciplinary bioinformatics, as tools to improve qualitative and quantitative traits in crop species. This Special Issue configures itself as a cohesive effort to combine contrasting omic studies (i.e. genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, phenomics, and enviromics) within common pathways and cellular networks of crop systems. Ultimately, this integration will allow pivoting direct and indirect genetic-assisted approaches to enhance agronomical important traits such as yield, resistance and nutritional value.
Major research avenues persist given the growing human population and severe climate change. The previous compilations do not aim to be exhaustive, but rather encourage a trans-disciplinary conversation around conservation and utilization of crop-wild gene pools biodiversity. IJARES may certainly contribute to this dialogue, together with a consolidated much-needed open-source network of data sharing[29, 30].
I am very much grateful with IJARES’s Editorial Board and Sandra Ellison for the invitation to contribute to the second issue of the International Journal on Agriculture Research and Environmental Sciences, as well as with Gene’s and Agronomy’s editors for planning highly timing Special Issues concerning biodiversity of crop genepools and omics approaches.
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