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Sustainability 2011, 3(9), 1616-1636; doi:10.3390/su3091616
Article

Phenotypic Changes in Different Spinach Varieties Grown and Selected under Organic Conditions

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Received: 9 June 2011; in revised form: 17 August 2011 / Accepted: 24 August 2011 / Published: 23 September 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Breeding for Sustainable Agriculture)
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Abstract: Organic and low-input agriculture needs flexible varieties that can buffer environmental stress and adapt to the needs of farmers. We implemented an experiment to investigate the evolutionary capacities of a sample of spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) population varieties for a number of phenotypic traits. Three farmers cultivated, selected and multiplied one or several populations over two years on their farms. The third year, the versions of the varieties cultivated and selected by the different farmers were compared to the original seed lots they had been given. After two cycles of cultivation and on-farm mass selection, all the observed varieties showed significant phenotypic changes (differences between the original version and the version cultivated by farmers) for morphological and phenological traits. When the divergence among versions within varieties was studied, the results show that the varieties conserved their identity, except for one variety, which evolved in such a way that it may now be considered two different varieties. The heterogeneity of the population varieties was assessed in comparison with a commercial F1 hybrid used as control, and we found no specific differences in phenotypic diversity between the hybrid and population varieties. The phenotypic changes shown by the population varieties in response to on-farm cultivation and selection could be useful for the development of specific adaptation. These results call into question the current European seed legislation and the requirements of phenotypic stability for conservation varieties.
Keywords: Spinacia oleracea; on-farm conservation; farmer varieties; participatory plant breeding; seed legislation; DUS Spinacia oleracea; on-farm conservation; farmer varieties; participatory plant breeding; seed legislation; DUS
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Serpolay, E.; Schermann, N.; Dawson, J.; van Bueren, E.T.L.; Goldringer, I.; Chable, V. Phenotypic Changes in Different Spinach Varieties Grown and Selected under Organic Conditions. Sustainability 2011, 3, 1616-1636.

AMA Style

Serpolay E, Schermann N, Dawson J, van Bueren ETL, Goldringer I, Chable V. Phenotypic Changes in Different Spinach Varieties Grown and Selected under Organic Conditions. Sustainability. 2011; 3(9):1616-1636.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Serpolay, Estelle; Schermann, Nicolas; Dawson, Julie; van Bueren, Edith T. Lammerts; Goldringer, Isabelle; Chable, Véronique. 2011. "Phenotypic Changes in Different Spinach Varieties Grown and Selected under Organic Conditions." Sustainability 3, no. 9: 1616-1636.


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