Phenotypic diversity and distinctiveness of the Belltall garlic landrace
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Among the Mediterranean horticultural landraces, garlic is one of the crops most threatened by genetic erosion. Due to its sexual sterility and to the incidence of seed-borne diseases, historical varieties have been widely replaced by commercial cultivars. In Catalonia, despite the historical relevance of the crop, solely the Belltall garlic landrace is cultivated for commercial purposes. To assess the genotypic and phenotypic diversity within the Belltall garlic, we evaluated sixteen local accessions and five recognized traditional and modern varieties as controls. Genetic analysis with SSR and InDel markers showed low genetic diversity within the Belltall population, grouping modern and traditional varieties separately. Farmers and consumers were involved in the definition of the landrace ideotype and classified the materials by means of projective mapping. Scant phenotypic diversity was found within the Belltall landrace, which is characterized by its color profile and the small size of bulb and cloves. The Belltall landrace grown outside its area of origin lost the distinctive quality signals that differentiate the landrace from the commercial cultivars (clove appearance), indicating that the high quality of the landrace is under genotype-by-environment effects (i.e. local adaptation). Moreover, the size of the Belltall sowing clove had a strong effect on the harvested bulb size. Our research represents a case study for the description of the variability within garlic landraces and an approach to quantify the phenomenon of local adaptation that currently drives their conservation.
CitationCasals, J. [et al.]. Phenotypic diversity and distinctiveness of the Belltall garlic landrace. "Frontiers in Plant Science", 4 Gener 2023, vol. 13, p. 1-14.