Only three species of plants -- corn, rice and wheat -- supply over half of all human energy needs. However, the production of these essential crops cannot keep up with current rates of population growth, as availability of suitable land for their production is declining, and research and other methods into increasing their yields are achieving less incremental gains per unit of research and inputs. The latter problem may be addressed in part, by exploiting the thousands of possible wild relatives in the natural world and any additional kinds of plants, that could possibly provide essential genes which could significantly enrich the properties of existing cultivated plants. As genetic engineering advances the technology of gene transfer from one organism to another, the dependency upon biodiversity will likely increase, and hence provides yet another reason to protect biological diversity.
2. Using the library of genes available in the wild relatives of crop plants could make crop genetic engineering unnecessary.