The gene pool in natural and cultivated stocks of organisms that are available for human exploitation. It is desirable to maintain as diverse a range of organisms as possible, particularly of domesticated cultivars and their ancestors, in order to maintain a wide genetic base. The wider the genetic base, the greater the capacity for adaptation to particular environmental conditions (e.g. a pathogenic presence; see pathogen). This has led to the establishment of gene banks. Compare genetic erosion.
Subjects: Biological Sciences.