A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
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Friday, February 23, 2007
Posted 6:15 AM by Luigi
The importance of cassava seeds
The unappreciated ecology of landrace populations: Conservation consequences of soil seed banks in cassava
by Benoît Pujola, François Renouxc, Marianne Eliasd, Laura Rivale and Doyle Mckey
Abstract. Failure to take into account the ecological complexity of landrace populations of crop plants limits our ability to conserve their genetic resources in situ. Soil seed banks are a central feature of the ecology of landrace populations of cassava; their existence has consequences for conservation. Seedlings recruited from seed banks are incorporated by farmers into their stocks of clones of this vegetatively propagated crop, transforming pure clonality into a mixed clonal/sexual reproductive system. Soil seed banks, and farmers’ responses to them, play an important role in maintaining diversity in populations of cassava landraces. In a study combining genetic and ethnobiological approaches, we showed the following: (i) Recruitment from soil seed banks increased diversity of populations at the local scale. At the level of a field, the presence of plants issued from seeds resulted in significantly greater diversity of genotypes and phenotypes than if only individuals planted by farmers had been present. (ii) Farmers’ use of seed banks has enabled indirect ‘exchange’ of locally adapted cassava germplasm between cultural groups, without requiring that groups actually encountered one another and engaged in social exchange of cultivars. (iii) Farmers have responded to catastrophic crop failure by using seed banks to regenerate stocks of clones. This use of seed banks should enable cassava populations to respond to disasters by an increase of genetic diversity, rather than by a narrowing of the genetic base, often feared in such situations.
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