The title of this seminar-"Centers of Plant Diversity and the Conservation of Crop Germ Plasm"-is a clear indication of the philosophical change underlying man's comprehension of his relationship with the Plant Kingdom. At no time in history has man's dependence upon plants been greater than today. It is true that man was inseparable from his environment during the many thousands of years of his emergence into agriculture, but population pressures during the period of hunting and gathering were easily relieved by moving into new territory. Thereafter, in spite of local famines, agricultural improvements largely paced the growth of population so that little thought had to be given to obtaining maximum production from plants. Within this century, we have become aware of the impending collision of the potentialities of plants to provide nutriment and the growth of the human population of the world. For Alphonse de Candolle, Origine des Plantes Cultivees (10) was more a mental exercise than a practical means of pinpointing areas in which plants might furnish a genic pool leading to an increase in food supplies, either through greater production or the reduction of losses due to pests and diseases. From de Candolle's work stems the idea of centers of origin of cultivated plants. N. I. Vavilov opened a whole new approach to the problem of locating pools of germ plasm and the practical application of this knowledge. While he continued to discuss "centers of origin," it is evident from his first two dicta for establishing centers of origin (66) that he was evolving an idea of areas of genic diversity. These dicta are: 1) establishment of area with greatest varietal diversity of a species; 2) elucidation of the system of varietal diversity of a species. Accordingly, during the early 1900's,

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