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Diversity and conservation priorities of crop wild relatives in Mexico

  • Aremi R. Contreras-Toledo (a1) (a2), Moisés Cortés-Cruz (a1), Denise E. Costich (a3), Ma. de Lourdes Rico-Arce (a4), Joana Magos Brehm (a2) and Nigel Maxted (a2)...

Crop wild relatives (CWR) are valuable resources for crop breeding due to their close genetic relationship to the cultivated plants and their wide genetic variation, allowing the introgression of desirable traits into the crops, such as resistance to plant pests and diseases or adaptability to climate change. Mexico is a centre of agrobiodiversity, including CWR, but climate change, and other factors, are contributing to the loss of important Mexican CWR genetic diversity. The in situ and ex situ conservation status of Mexican priority CWR were assessed through a gap analysis as part of a national CWR conservation strategy for Mexico, to ensure the long-term preservation and improve the availability of these genetic resources. A set of 310 priority CWR taxa, previously identified as part of the national CWR inventory for Mexico, were analysed. Species distribution modelling and ecogeographic diversity analyses were used to detect gaps in in situ and ex situ conservation at taxon and ecogeographic levels. Priority target sites were identified throughout the country for complementary in situ and ex situ conservation of these taxa. The results obtained allow us to make recommendations for immediate conservation actions, thus helping to mitigate the threats to Mexican agrobiodiversity and enhance both national and global food security.

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