We must mine the biodiversity in seed banks to help to overcome food shortages, urge Susan McCouch and colleagues.
Humanity depends on fewer than a dozen of the approximately 300,000 species of flowering plants for 80% of its caloric intake. And we capitalize on only a fraction of the genetic diversity that resides within each of these species. This is not enough to support our food system in the future. Food availability must double in the next 25 years to keep pace with population
and income growth around the world.
Already, food-production systems are precarious in the face of intensifying demand, climate change, soil degradation and water
and land shortages.