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Genetic Erosion Under Modern Plant Breeding: Case Studies in Canadian Crop Gene Pools

  • Yong-Bi FuEmail author
  • Yi-Bo Dong
Chapter
Part of the Sustainable Development and Biodiversity book series (SDEB, volume 7)

Abstract

There is long-standing concern that modern plant breeding reduces crop genetic diversity. Such reduction may have consequences both for the vulnerability of crops to biotic and abiotic stress. To understand the impact of plant breeding on diversity, we conducted a series of genetic diversity analyses from 1999 to 2009 on existing Canadian gene pools of flax, oat, wheat, soybean, potato and canola. Here we summarize these analyses, highlight major findings, and discuss related issues. These gene pools displayed variable patterns and degrees of genetic diversity decline over the past 100 years of Canadian breeding efforts. Significant allelic loss and genetic shift were found in the wheat and oat gene pools. Such diversity declines underline the need for continuous efforts in conservation of improved crop germplasm and in the diversification of plant breeding materials for sustainable breeding programs.

Keywords

Plant breeding Canadian crop gene pool Genetic diversity Genetic erosion Allelic change Genetic shift Genetic marker 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Mr. Gregory Peterson for his technical support on these diversity analyses; our previous research collaborators for making this series of genetic diversity analyses possible; and Drs. Benoit Bizimungu, Gavin Humphreys, Brent McCallum, Jennifer Mitchell Fetch, and Malcolm Morrison for their useful comments on the early versions of the manuscript. This works is financially supported by an A-base research project of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plant Gene Resources of CanadaSaskatoon Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food CanadaSaskatoonCanada

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