, Volume 51, Issue 5, pp 471-478

Inferring seed exchange between farmers from population genetic structure of barley landrace Arabi Aswad from Northern Syria

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Apart from their significance in genetic conservation, barley landraces are still favoured by local farmers in low-input farming systems. They often perform more predictably under adverse conditions than modern cultivars due to local adaptation. Increased seed exchange between farmers may put adaptation of local populations of barley landraces at risk. Isozyme markers were used to investigate differentiation and infer gene flow between local populations of barley landrace Arabi Aswad in Northern Syria. Inferred gene flow decreased exponentially with geographic distance and may imply that seed exchange between farmers is limited to a regional scale and diminishes over longer distance. Gene flow seems to be a suitable index for estimating seed exchange in highly inbreeding crop species such as barley. In the future, improved mobility of farmers and extension work may facilitate seed exchange over longer distances, and consequently jeopardise preservation of locally adapted landraces in barley.