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Revista fitotecnia mexicana

Print version ISSN 0187-7380

Abstract

MASTRETTA-YANES, Alicia et al. A MEXICAN PROGRAM FOR THE CONSERVATION AND USE OF GENETIC DIVERSITY OF DOMESTICATED PLANTS AND THEIR WILD RELATIVES. Rev. fitotec. mex [online]. 2019, vol.42, n.4, pp.321-334.  Epub Oct 16, 2020. ISSN 0187-7380.

Mexico is a center of origin for agriculture and plant domestication. As a result, more than 130 crops are native to Mexico, forming part of a deep biocultural network and allowing agriculture to take place in a wide range of environmental conditions. This agrobiodiversity emerged from the process of evolution under domestication, which occurred similarly for thousands of years, until the onset of the green revolution. Although the intensive agriculture promoted by the green revolution significantly increased yields and provided food security for some regions, it has also had negative consequences for the environment and human health, and it does not fulfill all smallholder’s needs, especially considering the heterogenous environmental conditions in the case of Mexico. Therefore, it is necessary to look for alternative production techniques, effective for each environmental, sociocultural, and economic context. An initiative with two main objectives is proposed: 1) to study, understand and conserve the genetic diversity of crops native to Mexico and their wild relatives, as well as to preserve the ongoing processes of evolution under domestication that generate and maintain this diversity; and 2) to use this diversity to strengthen food and fiber production in a socially fair manner while minimizing environmental impacts. To fulfill these objectives, the initiative focuses on the source of variation available for domestication (genetic diversity and functional genomics), the context in which domestication acts (breeding and production) and one of its main challenges (environmental change). Research on these components should focus on connecting the theoretical aspects of the evolutionary processes with practical aspects of conservation and production. The objectives, main challenges and key research questions for each component are summarized, followed by a critical pathway for consolidation of this national initiative and current progress made by CONABIO.

Keywords : Evolution under domestication; plant genetic resources; food security; environmental change.

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