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useful species, but often these two methods become intertwined. This brief review emphasizing fruit crops will discuss the exploration and discovery of useful plants from antiquity to the 18th century largely from a Western perspective. ANTIQUITY

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the National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Plant Exchange Office (PEO) ( Williams, 2005 ). Proposals for plant explorations are accepted yearly following PEO established guidelines. For foreign explorations, the PEO obtains prior informed consent

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helpful comments of Michael Dosmann. I would like to acknowledge Allan Stoner and Ned Garvey of the USDA-ARS National Germplasm Resources Laboratory for their support of the Plant Exploration Program. I would like to thank Judi duCellier for producing the

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came into existence. As the repositories became established, the funding available for plant exploration and exchange was also increased. A mechanism for prioritizing proposals for collections of each commodity was established. Crop Germplasm Committees

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when naval officers and diplomats sent germplasm back to the United States. The latter part of the 19th and the first several decades of the 20th century can be described as a “golden age” for plant exploration and collecting. During the initial years

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established in 1993 ( CBD, 2005 ), plant genetic resources are redefined as the “sovereign property” of the country in which they are found. This new interpretation initiated new concepts and requirements that shape the future of plant exploration and exchange

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or biotic stress. For example, delayed phenology (i.e., delayed flowering or maturity) may enhance plant growth under phosphorus stress by increasing time available for soil exploration, soil exploitation, and phosphorus use in the plant ( Lynch and

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initial thought to a methodical approach with an inclusive approach from plant exploration to development and breeding. He thought of plant breeding as “ Эволюция по воле человека ” or “Evolution at the Hand of Man” ( Fowler and Mooney, 1990 ). Vavilov

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( Hyland, 1977 ). Since then, plant exploration has been sponsored annually to acquire diverse genetic resources for U.S. agriculture ( Williams, 2005 ). For more than 40 years after the establishment of the Seed and Plant Introduction Section, there were

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the export market. This work is based primarily on germplasm collected by scientists sponsored by the USDA-ARS Plant Exploration Office to collect in Chile ( Cameron et al., 1991 , 1993 ; Lavin, 1997 ; Lavín et al., 1993 ) and who were accompanied

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