, Volume 138, Issue 9–10, pp 985–998 | Cite as

Effectiveness of in situ and ex situ conservation of crop diversity. What a Phaseolus vulgaris L. landrace case study can tell us

  • Valeria NegriEmail author
  • Barbara Tiranti
Original Research


The effectiveness of in situ (on-farm) and ex situ conservation strategies to maintain total genetic diversity was assessed in a threatened Phaseolus vulgaris L. landrace. Farmer seed lots (subpopulations) were sampled initially and then after in situ and ex situ multiplication (two locations). The number of plants used in the ex situ multiplications (120) was much larger than that normally used in germplasm bank procedures and the farmer seed lots were kept separate. In situ, the landrace was multiplied by each farmer with the usual population size. Eighty plants from the initial population, the in situ and the two ex situ multiplications were individually tested using 26 microsatellite markers. Most of the genetic parameters showed a consistent decline in the ex situ populations compared with the in situ population, with a notable loss of less frequent alleles. The differentiation among the farmer subpopulations increased when the multiplication took place outside of the adaptation area. Although 120 plants were multiplied in each ex situ cycle, a bottleneck effect was present. In addition, tests for neutrality detected three loci that are involved in pathogen response and are potentially under selective effects. The diversity conservation and the management practices of autogamous landrace crops are discussed.


Diversity management In situ versus ex situ Phaseolus vulgaris L. Landrace Microsatellite markers Population size and selection 



Financial support was provided by the Italian Ministry of University and Scientific Research (PRIN project n. 9907384522_006 ‘Evaluation of “species-environment” systems for “in situ” conservation of genetic resources of cultivated species. In situ conservation of a self pollinating species. Evaluation of the system: landraces of Phaseolus vulgaris in a mountain area’). Thanks are due to the anonymous referees for useful suggestions and to Dr. I. Goldringer (INRA, Moulon) and Dr. P. E. Jorde (CEES, Oslo) for discussing the Ne estimating methods with us.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biologia ApplicataUniversità degli Studi di PerugiaPerugiaItaly

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