Evolutionary Plant Breeding: Exploiting Diversity to Cope with Uncertainty

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Crop Breeding and Genetics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 May 2023) | Viewed by 2977

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Independent Researcher, Corso Mazzini 256, 63100 Ascoli Piceno, Italy
Interests: climate change; genetic diversity; abiotic stress; participatory research; plant breeding; evolutionary plant breeding

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The original idea of Evolutionary Plant Breeding traces back to 1929, even though the term was first used by Coit Suneson in 1956.

For several years, research was conducted on the role of populations and mixtures, with an occasional misuse of either term. However, with the only exception of Martin Wolfe’s work with malting barley in Poland and East Germany, this breeding method and the associated research for many years did not find large-scale practical applications.

In recent years, partly as a response to the limitations of conventional breeding to address the needs of organic agriculture and partly as a way to respond to the complexity of short-term weather variability and long-term climate changes with the associated changes in diseases, insects, and weeds, evolutionary plant breeding has seen a growing interest that in Europe was fostered by a new seed regulation for organic agriculture.

This Special Issue of Agronomy aims to represent the state of the art in Evolutionary Plant Breeding by bringing together the work of scientists who have carried out research with evolutionary populations and mixtures.

Dr. Salvatore Ceccarelli
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • populations
  • composite cross
  • mixtures
  • disease resistance
  • stability
  • climate change
  • weeds
  • yield
  • phenology
  • quality
  • diversity
  • participation

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 1850 KiB  
Article
Stability of Agronomic Traits of Barley Evolutionary Populations under Drought Conditions in Iran
by Maedeh Salimi, Khadijeh Catherine Razavi, Mobina Nourmohammadian Amiri, Mehdi Esmaeili, Soroor Khorramdel, Hanieh Moghani, Stefania Grando and Salvatore Ceccarelli
Agronomy 2023, 13(7), 1931; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13071931 - 21 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 979
Abstract
Barley is an important feed crop in Iran and is threatened by an increased frequency of drought. Increasing diversity in the form of evolutionary populations (EPs) and mixtures is one strategy to increase the resilience of crops. Four barley EPs, which have evolved [...] Read more.
Barley is an important feed crop in Iran and is threatened by an increased frequency of drought. Increasing diversity in the form of evolutionary populations (EPs) and mixtures is one strategy to increase the resilience of crops. Four barley EPs, which have evolved in different locations over 7 to 10 years from the same original population, were evaluated for agronomic trait and stability together with two landraces, and one improved variety for three cropping seasons in four locations. Modest but significant differences were found only for plant height with a range of less than 4 cm. Stability, measured with cultivar superiority, as well as environmental variance and reliability measures generally indicated a superior stability of EPs—with two of them ranking first and second for grain yield reliability—but also differences between the EPs. The effect of recurrent droughts on the diversity within EPs is discussed as a possible explanation for the lack of divergent evolution. The seed management of Eps, including seed exchange between farmers, is suggested as a possible strategy to avoid the reduction in diversity within populations. Future research will address the nutritional value of the EPs, which is often quoted by sheep owners as superior to commonly grown varieties. Full article
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22 pages, 2608 KiB  
Article
High Buffering Potential of Winter Wheat Composite Cross Populations to Rapidly Changing Environmental Conditions
by Odette D. Weedon, Sarah Brumlop, Annette Haak, Jörg Peter Baresel, Anders Borgen, Thomas Döring, Isabelle Goldringer, Edith Lammerts van Bueren, Monika M. Messmer, Péter Mikó, Edwin Nuijten, Bruce Pearce, Martin Wolfe and Maria Renate Finckh
Agronomy 2023, 13(6), 1662; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13061662 - 20 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1233
Abstract
A winter wheat composite cross population (CCP), created in the UK in 2001, has been grown in Germany, Hungary, and the UK since 2005 (F5 generation). In 2008/09 (F8), a cycling pattern for the populations was developed between partners to [...] Read more.
A winter wheat composite cross population (CCP), created in the UK in 2001, has been grown in Germany, Hungary, and the UK since 2005 (F5 generation). In 2008/09 (F8), a cycling pattern for the populations was developed between partners to test the effects of rapidly changing environments on agronomic performance and morphological characteristics. One CCP was grown by eight partners for one year and subsequently sent to the next partner, creating “cycling CCPs” with different histories. In 2013, all eight cycling CCPs and the three non-cycling CCPs (from Germany, Hungary, and the UK) were included in a two-year experiment in Germany with three line varieties as references. Differing seed weights of the F13 at sowing affected some agronomic parameters under drought conditions in 2014/15 but not under less stressful conditions in 2013/14. In both experimental years, the CCPs were comparable to the line varieties in terms of agronomic performance, with some CCPs yielding more than the varieties under the drought conditions of 2015. The results highlight the potential of CCPs to compete with line varieties, while the overall similarity of the CCPs based on their origin and cycling history for agronomic traits indicates a high buffering potential under highly variable environmental conditions. Full article
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