chapter  1
14 Pages

The making of a heritage

To some, genetic diversity is a 'genepool', an immense supply of raw materials to be tapped for making crops grow, like the oil wells ofSaudi Arabia make cars run. To others, it is the full spectrum of all that is different, unique, vast and interesting; the range between yellow and black potatoes. To yet others, it is a living history of what their grandparents and great grandparents grew, either on the same plot of land or half a world away. Actually, genetic diversity is all of these things at once: a moving mixture of the past and the future, a source ofwealth and fertility, a coloured tableau of nature's possibilities and culture's limits. It would seem impossible to adopt one single attitude towards the complexity of life forms and forces surrounding us. Diversity simply has no face value. Depending on whatever aspect m~ves you most about it, you can be nostalgic, intellectual, scientific, spiritual, profit-hungry, or simply concerned about survival.