EDITORIAL

Gene Banks for a Warming Planet

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Science  31 Jul 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5940, pp. 517
DOI: 10.1126/science.1177070

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Summary

The bicentenary of Charles Darwin's life and work reminds us that the great biodiversity on Earth underlies natural selection, selective breeding, and the biotechnologies required to provide humanity with food, fiber, fodder, and fuels. In particular, biodiversity affords the development of plant varieties with novel genetic combinations, which will be required to meet the challenges arising from adverse alterations in temperature, precipitation, sea level, and the frequency of drought and floods—all of which are anticipated from human-induced climate change. The loss of each gene and species therefore limits our options for the future.