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Improving the Conservation and Use of Traditional Germplasm through Breeding for Local Adaptation: The Case of the Castellfollit del Boix Common Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) Landrace

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Mixed Research Unit for the Valorization and Breeding of Horticultural Landraces, Fundació Miquel Agustí, BarcelonaTech, Esteve Terradas, 8, 08860 Castelldefels, Spain
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Mixed Research Unit for the Valorization and Breeding of Horticultural Landraces, Institut de Conservació i Millora de l’Agrodiversitat Valenciana, Universitat Politècnica de València, Camí de Vera 14, 46022 València, Spain
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2019, 9(12), 889; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9120889
Received: 15 November 2019 / Revised: 4 December 2019 / Accepted: 12 December 2019 / Published: 14 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Breeding and Genetics)
The dramatic reduction in the diversity of crops in the last century is often attributed to the consolidation of scientific breeding, probably because the two processes have occurred at the same time. We carried out a breeding program to enhance the Castellfollit del Boix landrace of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in a low-input environment to determine the effects of breeding on a landrace at risk of disappearing. The program increased the number of accessions conserved ex situ and obtained more efficient genotypes that are less likely to be abandoned by farmer without altering the characteristics that consumers appreciate most. As a result, the availability of the product, its promotion, and its use have increased. We propose a Conservation Potential Index to measure the impact of changes in the crop’s epiphenotype, and also apply it to a set of landraces from several crops. We argue that scientific breeding and information gathered in the context of genetic improvement programs can help to conserve biodiversity when they aim to adapt materials to different local environments, rather than having a negative impact on the biodiversity of crops. This approach contrasts with the genetic erosion that results from efforts to homogenize environments by increasing inputs, so that a few improved varieties adapted to these environments can be grown. View Full-Text
Keywords: breeding for low inputs; plant genetic resources; landraces; Conservation Potential Index breeding for low inputs; plant genetic resources; landraces; Conservation Potential Index
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Casals, J.; Rivera, A.; Rull, A.; Romero del Castillo, R.; Sabaté, J.; Sans, S.; Soler, S.; Díez, M.J.; Casañas, F.; Prohens, J.; Simó, J. Improving the Conservation and Use of Traditional Germplasm through Breeding for Local Adaptation: The Case of the Castellfollit del Boix Common Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) Landrace. Agronomy 2019, 9, 889.

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