In July 1969, Erna Bennett, Genetic Conservation and InformationSpecialist from the Crop Ecology and Genetic Resources Branch of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), carried out a missionin Greece searching for and collecting primitive wheat varieties native tothe mountains and valleys of that country. These primitive wheat races areone of the world's richest storehouses of the genetic characteristics thatplant breeders require. They will build desirable characteristics from cropsas old as agricultural man, like building blocks, into new high-yieldingvarieties. But old races are being swamped by the spread of modern varieties,and in certain areas - and in the case of certain crops - emergency measuresare necessary to collect these old races before they disappear completely.FAO and other leading international crop improvement organizations areincreasingly concerned with the conservation of primitive crop races, in whoseamazing diversity hides the promise of better crops to come.Miss Bennett making notes in her field book. All details of wheat samplestaken are noted in field books with numbered pages. Collected samples areplaced in cotton bags and numbered by detaching numbered strips from fieldbook pages.