Genetic Resources, Germplasm Characterisation/Evaluation and Maintenance

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Abstract

Gene pool serves as a tool for conceptualising the ability of plant populations to cross with the conspecific population and with those of other species. Classification of gene pool of Momordica spp. has been discussed here on the basis of hybridisation studies. M. dioica and M. subangulata in India are reported under endangered category. However, these reports are based on assumption and do not have the support of authentic fieldwork. A large collection of M. charantia is maintained in the national gene bank and by different organisations in India and other countries. A good representation of diversity in M. charantia has been assembled from the Western Ghats, India, though there are still a few grey areas to be explored more intensely. However, other species and areas need extensive coverage. Momordica species assume significance for conservation as crop relative, source of economic product of aesthetic and ecological interest, of potential horticultural value and as future raw material for the medicinal and pharmaceutical industry. Establishment of genetic reserves within protected areas must be attempted for conserving diversity in M. dioica and M. sahyadrica. Ex situ conservation in home gardens and on-farm conservation in tribal homesteads in forest pockets are viable options for conservation of Momordica gene pool as the taxa are still wild or semi-domesticate with high dependence on biotic agents for pollination and seed dispersal.