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Impact of farmer selection on yam genetic diversity

Chaïr H., Cornet D., Deu M., Baco M.N., Agbangla A., Duval M.F., Noyer J.L.. 2010. Conservation Genetics, 11 (6) : p. 2255-2265.

DOI: 10.1007/s10592-010-0110-z

In the traditional yam agricultural system, by way of an ennoblement practice, farmers select tubers from the wild for cultivation. In order to assess the impact of that practice on the genetic diversity of yam, we studied the genetic structure of yams obtained after at least 3 years of ennoblement, to which farmers gave the name of traditional varieties. Cultivated yams do not always have the same genotype as homonymous traditional varieties. For the first time, we demonstrated selection by farmers through the ennoblement of genotypes found in neighbouring villages. Their adoption has a double impact: it allows an increase in the polyclonality of varieties and an indirect exchange of yam tubers between farmers. We also demonstrated that wild yams and hybrids between wild and cultivated yams are also selected. However, their adoption seems less frequent, suggesting selection and valuation of ennobled yams before integration into the cultivated pool. Finally, the adaptive advantage of wild and hybrid yams and their role in yam agrosystems are discussed.

Mots-clés : dioscorea; bénin

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