Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 52, Issue 5, pp 629–634 | Cite as

Genetic Erosion – Examples from Italy1,2

  • Karl Hammer
  • Gaetano LaghettiEmail author


Italy has been used as a country for estimating genetic erosion in crops. It was possible to compare early surveys (from the 1920s to the 1950s), especially on wheats, with results of later missions in the 1980s and 1990s. In the early years, a relatively high genetic erosion was observed (13.2% p.a.). From the 1950s until the 1980s erosion rates between 0.48 and 4% p.a. were estimated. In the little island of Favignana there was an erosion rate of 12.2% p.a. leading to the extinction of the last wheat landraces of this island. There have been no significant differences in erosion rates between field- and garden-crops though there has been the impression that garden crops are better preserved over the long run. Interestingly extinction rates of wild plants (0.13% in the Mediterranean) come close to the average erosion rates of crop plants in the area.


Extinction Genetic erosion Italy Landraces Morphology 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Crop Sciences, AgrobiodiversityUniversity of KasselWitzenhausen
  2. 2.Institute of Plant GeneticsC.N.R.BariItaly

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