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BAG. Journal of basic and applied genetics

On-line version ISSN 1852-6233


RIMIERI, Pedro. Genetic diversity and genetic variability: two different concepts associated to plant germplasm and breeding. BAG, J. basic appl. genet. [online]. 2017, vol.28, n.2, pp.7-13. ISSN 1852-6233.

This paper differentiates plant genetic resources maintained in situ and ex situ for protection and conservation, from those resources that man collects, maintains and uses for his subsistence by developing cultivated varieties through any artificial selection method. The imprecision, confusion and distortion found in many papers related to the issue raised here with respect to terminology, its meaning, its scope and its consequences, motivated the development of this opinion work. In plant breeding working collections are used as a source of variability and adaptation. In this process, unfailingly, only a part of the genetic variability is used, which is restricted in each selective cycle since the purpose of this process is to obtain new cultivars. In the selection process there is always a loss of genetic variability with respect to the population that gave rise to it. The confusion mentioned with respect to the loss of genetic variability resides in the following: the greater probabilities of success in a plant breeding program will be associated to the availability of a wide genetic variability in the starting elite collection and not in the obtained cultivar. One of the reiterated concepts attributes the loss of genetic variability to the advent of new cultivars and the narrow genetic base that they represent. The loss of genetic variability is a consequence of the achievement of genetic progress in plant breeding. In this context, the respect for diversity in protected areas and agrobiodiversity in agricultural areas, is the way for producing profitable yields while maintaining the long-term productivity as a result of the implementation of plant breeding.

Keywords : Genetic variability; Genetic diversity; Plant breeding; Plant genetic resources.

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