What Does Extinction Mean to Me?We migh ask ourselves, why should we try to save species from extinction?One answer is that wildlife is a curiosity for which humans have no need.Others seek to preserve nature for its own sake.There are some economic reasons to save species from extinction: food and non-food uses.Approximately 7000 plant species have historically been used by humans as food. Today, thirty of these species provide 95% of all human food.Just four -wheat, corn, rice, and potatoes- provide most of the world's food.Nearly 75,000 edible plants species exist, many superior in nutrition and quality to the 30 we favor today.Low genetic diversity, resulting from centuries of selective inbreeding, make crops especially susceptible to pests and parasites.During the 1970s the U.S. corn crop was almost completely wiped out by a leaf fungus.The corn crop was saved by interbreeding it with a rare species of wild corn from Mexico.Genetic engineering may also offer some hope by facilitating transfer of genes between species.
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plant species, U.S. corn crop, wild plant species, wild plants species