The wild relatives of major vegetables, needed for climate resilience, are in danger
Growing up in the wild makes plants tough. Wild plants evolve to survive the whims of nature and thrive in difficult conditions, including extreme climate conditions, poor soils, and pests and disease. Their better-known descendants—the domesticated plants that are critical to a healthy diet—are often not nearly as hardy. The genes that make crop wild relatives robust have the potential to make their cultivated cousins—our food plants—better prepared for a harsh climate future. But a series of new research papers show these critical plants are imperiled.