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versión impresa ISSN 1405-2768


RENDON-AGUILAR, Beatriz et al. Maize diversity in the southern region of Oaxaca, Mexico: traditional knowledge and traditional management. Polibotánica [online]. 2015, n.39, pp.151-174. ISSN 1405-2768.

The state of Oaxaca represents an important pool of maize in Mexico. Previous studies have indicated the presence of many local varieties and agronomic races, mainly at the Northern Sierra and Central Valleys. The Southern Sierra has not been studied, in spite of the presence of indigenous Zapotec communities, which cultivate maize, among other crops, and have preserved local varieties. The present study is focused on the following questions: Which is the maize diversity, in terms of traditional varieties and agronomic races, in the Zapotec region of Los Loxicha? Does Maize diversity follow a pattern of distribution along an altitudinal interval? Which practices promote, and maintain this diversity? To answer these questions, we conducted a study within five municipalities at the Southern part of Oaxaca. During 2007, structured interviews were applied to 930 farmers in order to obtain a descriptive process of seed management. Morphological characterization of agronomic races was based on ear specimens obtained from a sample of 375 "milpas", with 20 plants per "milpa". High levels of local maize diversity were recorder, with 36 traditional varieties belonging to 10 races. Races exhibited differences in terms of phenotypic variation, and altitudinal distribution, and some could indicate local adaptation. People practice some ancestral management of ear and seed selection, thus maintaining differentiation among varieties and agronomic races. Nevertheless, sowing many local varieties in the same field, promotes gene flow and introgression among them, maintaining, and promoting phenotypic and genetic diversity.

Palabras llave : Zea mays; South Sierra of Oaxaca; altitudinal interval; agronomic races; traditional management; Zapotecs.

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