Can yam domestication and participatory breeding be new ways to improve this crop and conserve its genetic resources?

Pages 404-409

Julien Berthaud, Mustapha Bousalem, Ogoubi Daïnou, Jean Dubern, Bernard Malaurie, Serge Tostain

ABSTRACT

Genetic diversity found in tuber crops like yams is large and should be conserved. This diversity within genetic resources should offer to farmers new forms adapted to their changing needs. A classical multistep approach has recently been used to tap these resources: collection ‡ characterization/evaluation > conservation/propagation > distribution/utilization. But this tuber crop is quite specific in terms of conservation as it is vegetatively propagated and the propagules have no long term conservation capacity. It is then difficult to rely only on this classical approach for conservation and utilization of these genetic resources. We propose to use the knowledge currently being acquired on farmers’ strategies of yam domestication and on genetic diversity of yams and their pests and diseases to explore new ways to create yam varieties more tolerant to pests and diseases and new ways for conserving their genetic resources. A sanitation approach is also considered to produce virus-free yam seed especially in the site of Pilimpikou valley (Burkina Faso) This new material will be evaluated for its contribution to improvement of yam production.

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