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Reviving Ancient Food Staples

Ancient crops native to Mayan and Aztec regions are undergoing recovery in 19 Latin American genebanks in order to protect crop diversity and ensure food security, announced the Global Crop Diversity Trust last Thursday.

Crop experts are working to replenish and conserve the thousands of unique strains of staple crops such as corn, tomatoes, cassava, beans. Methods of preservation include cultivating these stored seeds in carefully controlled conditions in order to harvest fresh seed samples, as well as cold storage and even dipping the seeds in liquid nitrogen.

Maintaning the wide range of genetic material is a top priority worldwide as increasing destruction of local environments and climate change threatens biodiversity. 88 countries around the world have already begun to work with the Global Crop Diversity Trust.