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Reading Professor advises United Nations on plant diversity

Professor Richard Ellis

Professor Richard Ellis

Professor Richard Ellis, Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences, is one of the world's leading authorities on seed genebanks for ex situ plant biodiversity conservation.  

Such genebanks are vital for future food security - in order to ensure that crop plant breeders have diverse material from which to breed new crop varieties. Genebanks are also conserving wild plant seeds.

Professor Ellis visited Rome where he took part in an expert consultation on Genebank Standards for the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Bioversity International, and the Global Crop Diversity Trust. 

Professor Ellis has provided academic support to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, Bioversity International, and the global network of crop genebanks for more than three decades at the interface between science and technology: in addition to his scientific research outputs, he has written several major handbooks for genebank managers to assist them in their role of both storing seeds safely over the long term and subsequently being able to germinate them. His advice has supported the development of the global network of over 1000 crop genebanks.

The University of Reading plays a strong role in crop biodiversity conservation worldwide.  In addition to seed conservation, the University maintains the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, in Kent and the International Cocoa Germplasm Database, Quarantine, Multiplication and Distribution.

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