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Characterization and sharing of quinoa's biodiversity: its global spreading beyond its origins

Bazile D.. 2020. Rome : FAO, 2 p.. (Webinar Series, 5). Webinar Collaboration on Promoting Quinoa. 5, 2020-06-15/2020-06-15, (Italie).

First of all, I want to thanks the organization for giving me this opportunity to meet you through this webinar on Collaboration on Promoting Quinoa. At CIRAD, all of our researches are built in partnership with national and local stakeholders in developing countries, so Collaboration is central for us. My speech is focused on the importance of quinoa genetic diversity both for sustainable use in Andean countries and for quinoa crop adaptation outside the Andes. Research partnerships have often facilitated the exchanges of germplasm and have had a powerful impact on quinoa development by strengthened collaborations. Quinoa was first domesticated in Andean countries over 7000 years ago. Following the Spanish conquest, quinoa was rejected as ¿Indian food¿. After centuries of neglect, the potential of quinoa was rediscovered during the second half of the 20th century. Since then, the number of countries importing quinoa increased, with new producers appearing on the map and quinoa now being cultivated in many areas outside the Andes. The geographical increase in distribution of quinoa has highlighted the difficulty of access to quality seed, which is a key factor for testing the crop outside the Andes and for adapting the species to new environments. In this context, research partnerships have helped promote the exchange of quinoa germplasm and have allowed trials to be undertaken in non-traditional areas of cultivation. What is quinoa? Quinoa crop is member of the Amaranthaceae family, and closely related to beets, spinach or common lambsquarters. Quinoa is cultivated for its edible grains but the plant has broad uses like the consumption of the young leaves and it also serves as animal fodder. Quinoa was domesticated near Lake Titicaca between Peru and Bolivia. During centuries, generations of farmers have been involved in quinoa selection, which explains the high levels of genetic diversity found today. Quinoa diversity, at a continental scale, has been associated with five main ecotypes: Highlands (Peru and Bolivia), Inter-Andean valleys (Colombia, Ecuador and Peru), Salares (Bolivia, Chile and Argentina), Yungas (Bolivia) and Coastal/Lowlands (Chile). Each of these ecotypes is associated with sub-centres of diversity that comes from the surroundings of the Lake Titicaca. Moreover, each one corresponds to specific conditions of altitude, latitude and is adapted to specific soils and climatic conditions. Thanks to the high levels of genetic diversity, quinoa crop is highly resilient to agro-ecological extremes (soils, rainfall, temperature, and altitude) and the quinoa crop is tolerant to frost, drought, and salinity. From the Andes to the World, the question is what can be grown in new environments outside the Andes? The differences are very pronounced between ecotypes, and the sea-level ecotype is very different from the others. Quinoa, from the central and southern part of Chile, representing the lowlands ecotype at sea level, is the more adapted for experimenting quinoa outside the Andes to temperate environments. The spread of worldwide quinoa is made from strong relationships between institutions that share their genetic material. Andean countries hold the largest germplasm collections with more than 6,000 accessions conserved by Peru and Bolivia genebanks. But many countries have established collections prior to signature of the Convention on Biological Diversity which specifies that these states are today sovereign over these genetic resources. You can see red triangles on the map representing 25 countries worldwide that can share their quinoa accessions without any obligation of referring to Andean countries in accordance to global regulations on biodiversity since 1992. These countries are the new suppliers for quinoa seeds today. Until the eighties, quinoa was only cultivated in 6 Andean countries (in green on the map). During the past thirty years, quinoa was tested in all the continents and nowadays, quinoa is ...

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