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    Cultivation of faba bean (Vicia faba L.) in Tunisia is largely based on improved varieties of the crop. However, a few farmers continue to produce local cultivars or landraces. The National Gene Bank of Tunisia (NGBT) recently launched a collection project for faba bean landraces, with special focus on the regions of the North West, traditionally devoted to cultivating grain legumes, and where around 80% of the total national faba bean cultivation area is located. The seed phenotypic features of the collected samples were studied, and the genetic diversity and population structure analyzed using simple sequence repeat markers. The genetic constitution of the present samples was compared to that of faba bean samples collected by teams of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in the 1970s in the same region, and stored at the ICARDA gene bank. The results of the diversity analysis demonstrate that the recently collected samples and those stored at ICARDA largely overlap, thus demonstrating that over the past 50 years, little genetic change has occurred to the local faba bean populations examined. These findings suggest that farmers serendipitously applied international best practices for in situ conservation of agricultural crops.


    Elyes Babay, Khalil Khamassi, Wilma Sabetta, Monica Marilena Miazzi, Cinzia Montemurro, Domenico Pignone, Donatella Danzi, Mariella Matilde Finetti-Sialer, Giacomo Mangini. Serendipitous In Situ Conservation of Faba Bean Landraces in Tunisia: A Case Study. Genes. 2020 Feb 24;11(2)

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    PMID: 32102450

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