Some aspects of avocado (Persea americana Mill.) diversity and domestication in Mesoamerica

Abstract

Avocado (Persea americana Mill.) is a major tropical fruit, with origin in Mesoamerica area. Avocado is a very variable species and taxonomically poorly understood. It has been grown in the Neotropics since ancient times and it seems that the domestication of this tree in Mesoamerica started before other annual crops. In addition, it seems that much of avocado diversity as ecological differences, were originated as a result of cultural diversity. In view of this, avocado represents an interesting model to study domestication of tropical trees and develop forest management and germplasm conservation strategies. At present time, P. americana is worldwide distributed with Mexico as the main producer. However, there are some aspects on the origin, dispersion, and domestication of the species that remain to be answered. In this paper, we present a survey of these issues from the earliest to present time in Mesoamerica.

Resumen

El aguacate (Persea americana Mill.) es una importante fruta tropical, originaria del área de Mesoamérica. El aguacate es una especie altamente variable y su taxonomía aún no ha sido totalmente definida. El aguacate se ha desarrollado en el Neotrópico desde tiempos antiguos y es posible que su domesticación en Mesoamérica se iniciara antes que otras plantas anuales. También es probable que en gran medida su diversidad se originara además de las diferencias ecológicas, también como resultado de la diversidad cultural. Debido a esto, el aguacate representa un modelo interesante para estudiar procesos de domesticación en árboles tropicales y desarrollar estrategias de manejo en bosques y conservación del germoplasma. Actualmente, P. americana está distribuida en todo el mundo y México es el principal productor. Sin embargo, algunos aspectos del origen, dispersión y domesticación de la especie no han sido clarificados. En este artículo presentamos una investigación sobre estos aspectos, desde tiempos antiguos hasta el presente en el área de Mesoamérica.

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Acknowledgements

The authors express their gratitude to the Universidad Veracruzana, Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Mexico and PROMEP for their support. We also would like to thank the reviewers for their useful comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to María Elena Galindo-Tovar.

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Galindo-Tovar, M.E., Ogata-Aguilar, N. & Arzate-Fernández, A.M. Some aspects of avocado (Persea americana Mill.) diversity and domestication in Mesoamerica. Genet Resour Crop Evol 55, 441–450 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10722-007-9250-5

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Keywords

  • Dispersion
  • History
  • Genetic variability
  • Origin
  • Persea americana