Following Vavilov’s expeditions, Sardinia (Italy)
This article is based on historical records of N.I. Vavilov’s organization of an exploration of Sardinia (Italy) in the year 1927 through his assistant N.M. Gaisinsky and on results of a recent exploration jointly conducted by the University of Sassari and the N.I Vavilov Institute of Plant Genetic Resources (VIR) in 2012. By tracking and revisiting, the places visited in Sardinia by Gaisinsky and by collecting the plants in cultivation at these locations today, great changes that have occurred since 1927 could be documented. The recent collecting in Sardinia resulted in 33 accessions of cereal crops (wheat, barley, oat and rye) and their wild relatives. I was noted that the area under agricultural cultivation has decreased significantly and the number of crops dropped sharply. In addition, the recently collected cereals are characterized by botanical uniformity and most likely represent cultivars introduced from Italy and France. The collected samples were both placed for conservation at the Center for Conservation and Enhancement of Plant Biodiversity, in the University of Sassari and delivered to Sankt Petersburg for inclusion in the VIR collections and now represents an interesting object for studies of genetic diversity of agricultural crops in Sardinia.
KeywordsPlant genetic resources Collecting Exploration Genetic diversity Historical changes in land use Genetic erosion
We are grateful to Dr. Sergey Alexanian (former Head of Foreign Relations at VIR) and Prof. Alexander Drozdov (Russian Academy of Sciences), for the first steps of this cooperation. Prof. Attilio Mastino (former Rector of the University of Sassari) to have believed in this project. Dr. Salvatore Pinna (former Ambassador of Italy in Russia), Prof. Margarita Vishnyakova (VIR), Dr. Fabio Ciccarello (FAO-Rome), Patricia Merrikin (FAO-Rome), Véronique Montes Baffier (FAO-Rome), Francesca Giampieri (Bioversity, Rome), Giommaria Manconi (City of Nulvi), Dr. Ruggero Roggio (City of Sorso), Francesco Manca (City of Sorgono), Gianni Mereu (City of Sanluri) for the support, suggestions and materials.
This work was supported by the Center for Conservation and Enhancement of Plant Biodiversity, University of Sassari, Italy and N.I. Vavilov Institute of Plant Genetic Resources (VIR), Russia.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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