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Abstract

Crop genetic resources are the basis of agricultural production, and significant economic benefits have resulted from their conservation and use. However, crop genetic resources are largely public goods, so private incentives for genetic resource conservation may fall short of achieving public objectives. Within the U.S. germplasm system, certain crop collections lack sufficient diversity to reduce vulnerability to pests and diseases. Many such genetic resources lie outside the United States. This report examines the role of genetic resources, genetic diversity, and efforts to value genetic resources. The report also evaluates economic and institutional factors influencing the flow of genetic resources, including international agreements, and their significance for agricultural research and development in the United States.

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