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Cirad

Towards an International plant collection to maintain and characterize the endangered genetic resources of vanilla

Grisoni M., Besse P., Bory S., Moles M., Duval M.F., Kahane R.. 2007. In : Hummer Kim E. (ed.). Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on Plant Genetic Resources of Horticultural Crops, Seoul, Korea, August 14-18, 2006 : IHC 2006, Seoul, Korea, August 13-19, 2006. Louvain : ISHS [Belgique], p. 83-90. (Acta Horticulturae, 760). International Horticultural Congress. 27, 2006-08-13/2006-08-19, Séoul (Corée, république de).

The primary gene pool of Vanilla planifolia Jackson, the main source for commercial vanilla, is heavily threatened in its area of origin (Central America) by habitat fragmentation and destruction. In addition, ex situ conserved material is often endangered by viruses such as Cymbidium mosaic virus that easily spread by contact in plant collections. There is therefore an urgent need to protect the genetic resources that could be a supply of desirable traits for vanilla production. These resources should include the local varieties cultivated around the centre of origin and in the area of dispersion, as well as the vanilla relatives estimated to 110 species distributed worldwide. In this respect, a germplasm collection of vanilla species and varieties is being set up by CIRAD in Reunion Island since 2003. It is structured according to three key rules: 1) a strict phytosanitary control of the planting material that is certified free of the viruses known to infect vanilla, 2) a clear specification of the origin and property rights attached to the material in fulfilment with international conventions on biodiversity, and 3) an accurate characterization of the accessions using molecular, morphological and aromatic markers. This collection presently gathers 250 accessions tentatively classified into 22 species. Most of the material belongs to the V. planifolia species and originates from the South-Western Indian Ocean area. The tropical and contrasted climatic conditions of Reunion Island should enable blooming and fruiting of most accessions, thus facilitating taxonomic identification and agronomic evaluation. Preliminary results and perspectives regarding the management and characterization of this collection will be presented and the standpoint of networking with similar initiatives in favour of vanilla preservation advocated.

Mots-clés : vanilla planifolia; ressource génétique; collection de matériel génétique; conservation des ressources; virus des végétaux; réunion; france; cymbidium mosaic virus

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