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Genetics Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 431487, 14 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/431487
Review Article

Importance of Genetic Diversity Assessment in Crop Plants and Its Recent Advances: An Overview of Its Analytical Perspectives

1Centre for Plant Breeding and Genetics, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore 641 003, India
2International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Patancheru, Telangana 502324, India
3School of Life Science, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli 620 024, India

Received 17 July 2014; Revised 24 November 2014; Accepted 27 November 2014

Academic Editor: Igor B. Rogozin

Copyright © 2015 M. Govindaraj et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The importance of plant genetic diversity (PGD) is now being recognized as a specific area since exploding population with urbanization and decreasing cultivable lands are the critical factors contributing to food insecurity in developing world. Agricultural scientists realized that PGD can be captured and stored in the form of plant genetic resources (PGR) such as gene bank, DNA library, and so forth, in the biorepository which preserve genetic material for long period. However, conserved PGR must be utilized for crop improvement in order to meet future global challenges in relation to food and nutritional security. This paper comprehensively reviews four important areas; (i) the significance of plant genetic diversity (PGD) and PGR especially on agriculturally important crops (mostly field crops); (ii) risk associated with narrowing the genetic base of current commercial cultivars and climate change; (iii) analysis of existing PGD analytical methods in pregenomic and genomic era; and (iv) modern tools available for PGD analysis in postgenomic era. This discussion benefits the plant scientist community in order to use the new methods and technology for better and rapid assessment, for utilization of germplasm from gene banks to their applied breeding programs. With the advent of new biotechnological techniques, this process of genetic manipulation is now being accelerated and carried out with more precision (neglecting environmental effects) and fast-track manner than the classical breeding techniques. It is also to note that gene banks look into several issues in order to improve levels of germplasm distribution and its utilization, duplication of plant identity, and access to database, for prebreeding activities. Since plant breeding research and cultivar development are integral components of improving food production, therefore, availability of and access to diverse genetic sources will ensure that the global food production network becomes more sustainable. The pros and cons of the basic and advanced statistical tools available for measuring genetic diversity are briefly discussed and their source links (mostly) were provided to get easy access; thus, it improves the understanding of tools and its practical applicability to the researchers.