Special Issue "Old Germplasm for New Needs: Managing Crop Genetic Resources"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 November 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Gregorio Barba-Espín
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centro de Edafología y Biología Aplicada del Segura, CSIC, Grupo de Biotecnología de Frutales, Departamento de Mejora Vegetal, E-30100 Murcia, Spain
Interests: plant biotechnology and breeding; crop management; plant biotechnology; antioxidant metabolism, proteomics, molecular biology in numerous plant species
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Jose Ramon Acosta-Motos
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Campus de Los Jerónimos, Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia (UCAM), 30107 Murcia, Spain
2. Group of Fruit Tree Biotechnology, Department of Plant Breeding, CEBAS-CSIC, 30100 Murcia, Spain

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The impacts of climate change on crop production are already a reality in Europe and the rest of the world. In order to mitigate these impacts, access to unexploited genetic crop diversity for the production of new varieties that can thrive in more extreme environmental conditions is of prime importance. Herein, genetic diversity should provide the raw material for breeding and plant improvement. Despite the vast pool of resources that exist, much of the germplasm richness found in gene banks is poorly documented. To overcome the barriers between germplasm conservation and use, a complete evaluation is necessary to find out the useful diversity they contain.

This Special Issue will focus on “Old Germplasm for New Needs: Managing Crop Genetic Resources”. We welcome novel research, reviews, and opinion pieces covering all related topics including germplasm evaluation, crop genetics and improvement, novel crops, phenotyping, physiological responses of inbred lines, management solutions, modeling, case studies from the field, and policy positions.

Dr. Gregorio Barba-Espín
Dr. Jose Ramon Acosta-Motos
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Crop germplasm
  • Crop genetics
  • Crop phenotype
  • Food security
  • Crop stress tolerance
  • Crop physiology

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Article
Agromorphological Characterization and Nutritional Value of Traditional Almond Cultivars Grown in the Central-Western Iberian Peninsula
Agronomy 2021, 11(6), 1238; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11061238 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 344
Abstract
In this study, 24 traditional almond cultivars grown in the central-western Iberian Peninsula, all of them clearly in decline or close to extinction, were characterized from the agromorphological and chemical points of view. A total of 40 agromorphological and chemical descriptors, mainly defined [...] Read more.
In this study, 24 traditional almond cultivars grown in the central-western Iberian Peninsula, all of them clearly in decline or close to extinction, were characterized from the agromorphological and chemical points of view. A total of 40 agromorphological and chemical descriptors, mainly defined by the IPGRI and the UPOV, were used to describe the flowers, leaves, fruits and the trees themselves over three consecutive years (2015–2017). Some of the cultivars showed distinctive and interesting agronomical characteristics from a commercial point of view, such as high yields and high quality fruit. This was the case of the almond cultivars called “Gorda José” and “Marcelina”. Their fruits were quite heavy (nuts: >9.1 g; kernels: >1.9 g), with very low percentages of double kernels (<3%) and high nutritional value (>50% lipids; >21% proteins). The results of the PCA and cluster analysis showed that agromorphological and chemical analysis can provide reliable information on the variability in almond genotypes. This work constitutes an important step in the conservation of genetic almond resources in the central-western Iberian Peninsula. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Old Germplasm for New Needs: Managing Crop Genetic Resources)
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Article
Assessing the Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of a Tunisian Melon (Cucumis melo L.) Collection Using Phenotypic Traits and SSR Molecular Markers
Agronomy 2021, 11(6), 1121; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11061121 - 31 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 900
Abstract
The assessment of genetic diversity and structure of a gene pool is a prerequisite for efficient organization, conservation, and utilization for crop improvement. This study evaluated the genetic diversity and population structure of 24 Tunisian melon accessions, by using 24 phenotypic traits and [...] Read more.
The assessment of genetic diversity and structure of a gene pool is a prerequisite for efficient organization, conservation, and utilization for crop improvement. This study evaluated the genetic diversity and population structure of 24 Tunisian melon accessions, by using 24 phenotypic traits and eight microsatellite (SSR) markers. A considerable phenotypic diversity among accessions was observed for many characters including those related to agronomical performance. All the microsatellites were polymorphic and detected 30 distinct alleles with a moderate (0.43) polymorphic information content. Shannon’s diversity index (0.82) showed a high degree of polymorphism between melon genotypes. The observed heterozygosity (0.10) was less than the expected heterozygosity (0.12), displaying a deficit in heterozygosity because of selection pressure. Molecular clustering and structure analyses based on SSRs separated melon accessions into five groups and showed an intermixed genetic structure between landraces and breeding lines belonging to the different botanical groups. Phenotypic clustering separated the accessions into two main clusters belonging to sweet and non-sweet melon; however, a more precise clustering among inodorus, cantalupensis, and reticulatus subgroups was obtained using combined phenotypic–molecular data. The discordance between phenotypic and molecular data was confirmed by a negative correlation (r = −0.16, p = 0.06) as revealed by the Mantel test. Despite these differences, both markers provided important information about the diversity of the melon germplasm, allowing the correct use of these accessions in future breeding programs. Together they provide a powerful tool for future agricultural and conservation tasks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Old Germplasm for New Needs: Managing Crop Genetic Resources)
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Article
Genotype-Dependent Tipburn Severity during Lettuce Hydroponic Culture Is Associated with Altered Nutrient Leaf Content
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 616; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040616 - 24 Mar 2021
Viewed by 713
Abstract
Cultivated lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) is one of the most important leafy vegetables in the world, and most of the production is concentrated in the Mediterranean Basin. Hydroponics has been successfully utilized for lettuce cultivation, which could contribute to the diversification of [...] Read more.
Cultivated lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) is one of the most important leafy vegetables in the world, and most of the production is concentrated in the Mediterranean Basin. Hydroponics has been successfully utilized for lettuce cultivation, which could contribute to the diversification of production methods and the reduction of water consumption and excessive fertilization. We devised a low-cost procedure for closed hydroponic cultivation and easy phenotyping of root and shoot attributes of lettuce. We studied 12 lettuce genotypes of the crisphead and oak-leaf subtypes, which differed on their tipburn resistance, for three growing seasons (Fall, Winter, and Spring). We found interesting genotype × environment (G × E) interactions for some of the studied traits during early growth. By analyzing tipburn incidence and leaf nutrient content, we were able to identify a number of nutrient traits that were highly correlated with cultivar- and genotype-dependent tipburn. Our experimental setup will allow evaluating different lettuce genotypes in defined nutrient solutions to select for tipburn-tolerant and highly productive genotypes that are suitable for hydroponics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Old Germplasm for New Needs: Managing Crop Genetic Resources)
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Article
Genetic Diversity of Soybeans (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) with Black Seed Coats and Green Cotyledons in Korean Germplasm
Agronomy 2021, 11(3), 581; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11030581 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 656
Abstract
Soybeans (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) with black seed coats and green cotyledons are rich in anthocyanins and chlorophylls known as functional nutrients, antioxidants and compounds with anticarcinogenic properties. Understanding the genetic diversity of germplasm is important to determine effective strategies for improving [...] Read more.
Soybeans (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) with black seed coats and green cotyledons are rich in anthocyanins and chlorophylls known as functional nutrients, antioxidants and compounds with anticarcinogenic properties. Understanding the genetic diversity of germplasm is important to determine effective strategies for improving the economic traits of these soybeans. We aimed to analyze the genetic diversity of 470 soybean accessions by 6K single nucleotide polymorphic loci to determine genetic architecture of the soybeans with black seed coats and green cotyledons. We found soybeans with black seed coats and green cotyledons showed narrow genetic variability in South Korea. The genotypic frequency of the d1d2 and psbM variants for green cotyledon indicated that soybean collections from Korea were intermingled with soybean accessions from Japan and China. Regarding the chlorophyll content, the nuclear gene variant pair d1d2 produced significantly higher chlorophyll a content than that of chloroplast genome psbM variants. Among the soybean accessions in this study, flower color plays an important role in the anthocyanin composition of seed coats. We provide 36 accessions as a core collection representing 99.5% of the genetic diversity from the total accessions used in this study to show potential as useful breeding materials for cultivars with black seed coats and green cotyledons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Old Germplasm for New Needs: Managing Crop Genetic Resources)
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Article
The Genetic Diversity and Structure of Tomato Landraces from the Campania Region (Southern Italy) Uncovers a Distinct Population Identity
Agronomy 2021, 11(3), 564; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11030564 - 17 Mar 2021
Viewed by 438
Abstract
Italy is one of the main producers and processors of tomato and it is considered a secondary center of diversity. In some areas, such as the Campania region (Southern Italy), a range of traditional tomato landraces is still cultivated. The distinction of this [...] Read more.
Italy is one of the main producers and processors of tomato and it is considered a secondary center of diversity. In some areas, such as the Campania region (Southern Italy), a range of traditional tomato landraces is still cultivated. The distinction of this heritage germplasm is often based only on folk taxonomy and a more comprehensive definition and understanding of its genetic identity is needed. In this work, we compared a set of 15 local landraces (representative of traditional fruit types) to 15 widely used contemporary varieties, using 14 fluorescent Simple Sequence Repeat (SSR) markers. Each of the accessions possessed a unique molecular profile and overall landraces had a genetic diversity comparable to that of the contemporary varieties. The genetic diversity, multivariate, and population structure analysis separated all the genotypes according to the pre-defined groups, indicating a very reduced admixture and the presence of a differentiated (regional) population of landraces. Our work provides solid evidence for implementing conservation actions and paves the way for the creation of a premium regional brand that goes beyond the individual landrace names of the Campania region known throughout the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Old Germplasm for New Needs: Managing Crop Genetic Resources)
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Article
Molecular Diversity within a Mediterranean and European Panel of Tetraploid Wheat (T. turgidum subsp.) Landraces and Modern Germplasm Inferred Using a High-Density SNP Array
Agronomy 2021, 11(3), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11030414 - 24 Feb 2021
Viewed by 676
Abstract
High-density single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) molecular markers are widely used to assess the genetic variability of plant varieties and cultivars, which is nowadays recognized as an important source of well-adapted alleles for environmental stresses. In our study, the genetic diversity and population genetic structure [...] Read more.
High-density single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) molecular markers are widely used to assess the genetic variability of plant varieties and cultivars, which is nowadays recognized as an important source of well-adapted alleles for environmental stresses. In our study, the genetic diversity and population genetic structure of a collection of 265 accessions of eight tetraploid Triticumturgidum L. subspecies were investigated using 35,143 SNPs screened with a 35K Axiom® array. The neighbor-joining algorithm, discriminant analysis of principal components (DAPC), and the Bayesian model-based clustering algorithm implemented in STRUCTURE software revealed clusters in accordance with the taxonomic classification, reflecting the evolutionary history of the Triticum turgidum L. subspecies and the phylogenetic relationships among them. Based on these results, a clear picture of the population structure within a collection of tetraploid wheats is given herein. Moreover, the genetic potential of landraces and wild relatives for the research of specific traits of interest is highlighted. This research provides a great contribution to future phenotyping and crossing activities. In particular, the recombination efficiency and gene selection programs aimed at developing durum wheat composite cross populations that are adapted to Mediterranean conditions could be improved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Old Germplasm for New Needs: Managing Crop Genetic Resources)
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Article
Genetic Purity of Cacao Criollo from Honduras Is Revealed by SSR Molecular Markers
Agronomy 2021, 11(2), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11020225 - 26 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 989
Abstract
The cultivation of cacao represents an income option and a source of employment for thousands of small producers in Central America. In Honduras, due to the demand for fine flavor cacao to produce high-quality chocolate, the number of hectares planted is increasing. In [...] Read more.
The cultivation of cacao represents an income option and a source of employment for thousands of small producers in Central America. In Honduras, due to the demand for fine flavor cacao to produce high-quality chocolate, the number of hectares planted is increasing. In addition, cacao clones belonging to the genetic group named Criollo are in great demand since their white beans lack of bitterness and excellent aroma are used in the manufacturing of premium chocolate. Unfortunately, the low resistance to pests and diseases and less productive potential of Criollo cacao leads to the replacement with vigorous new cultivars belonging to the other genetic groups or admixture of them. In this study, 89 samples showing phenotypic traits of Criollo cacao from four regions of Honduras (Copán, Santa Bárbara, Intibucá, and Olancho) were selected to study their genetic purity using 16 SSR molecular markers. The results showed that some samples belong to the Criollo group while other accessions have genetic characteristics of “Trinitario” or other admixtures cacao types. These results confirm the genetic purity of Criollo cacao in Honduras, reaffirming the theory that Mesoamerica is a cacao domestication center and also serves to generate interest in the conservation of this genetic wealth both in-situ and ex-situ. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Old Germplasm for New Needs: Managing Crop Genetic Resources)
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Article
Grain Quality and Allelic Variation of the Badh2 Gene in Thai Fragrant Rice Landraces
Agronomy 2020, 10(6), 779; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10060779 - 30 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1163
Abstract
Fragrance, which plays an important role in determining the economic value of rice to growers and consumers, is known to be controlled by the Badh2 gene. This study evaluated the grain quality characteristics and allelic variation of the Badh2 gene in 22 fragrant [...] Read more.
Fragrance, which plays an important role in determining the economic value of rice to growers and consumers, is known to be controlled by the Badh2 gene. This study evaluated the grain quality characteristics and allelic variation of the Badh2 gene in 22 fragrant rice landraces from Thailand. The rice seed samples from farmers’ storage facilities in northern, northeastern and southern Thailand, plus two advanced breeding lines and three check varieties, were evaluated for seed morphology and grain quality, and their Badh2 genes covering intron 4 to intron 8 were re-sequenced. Almost all of the landraces were classified as large grain types, with medium to high gelatinization temperatures. The variation in the Badh2 gene by haplotype analysis correlated with grain aroma by sensory evaluation. The badh2-E7 was found in haplotype 1 with a strong aroma in KH, NDLP, and PLD, as in KDML105 and the moderately aromatic BNM-CMU, BNM4, and SKH, along with PTT1. Three haplotypes had different positions of SNP on the Badh2 gene with varying results in the sensory test. The present results suggest that some rice varieties could be potentially introduced as genetic resources for fragrant rice breeding programs or could be developed to highly palatable cultivars with geographical indications to increase the income of highland farmers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Old Germplasm for New Needs: Managing Crop Genetic Resources)
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