Big Idea III

Natural diversity and human intervention both play a role in crop evolution and domestication.

The genetic diversity available in nature allows plants to survive changes in the environment. Through ongoing changes in genetic diversity caused by mutations and other mechanisms, plant populations are constantly evolving and adapting to their environment. Conversely, humans select for characteristics  - such as larger fruit, less seeds – that are more desirable for humans, and by doing so often cause a decrease in genetic diversity. Conserving genetic diversity in germplasm banks is important for future needs.