Entrelaçado, a rare maize race conserved in Southwestern Amazonia


Maize (Zea mays spp. mays L.) is the major domesticated cereal of the Americas and is of great relevance for global food security. For a long time, Amazonia represented an empty space in the racial distribution maps of this species, due to the lack of collections and the idea that locally developed races became extinct during European colonization. However, a native race had been described in Brazilian Amazonia, the Entrelaçado race, and a new study placed Amazonia on the map again, with a proposal for a center of diversification in Southwestern Amazonia. We prospected maize in the Brazilian states of Acre and Rondônia (Southwestern Brazilian Amazonia) and found floury landraces belonging to the Entrelaçado race, rare in existing collections and often considered extinct in the field. We collected indigenous and local names, general and specific uses for Entrelaçado, and characterized these accessions to compare them with other Brazilian floury maize races, based on data from the literature. Floury maize from the Southwest formed a coherent group in the cluster analysis, which grouped with Entrelaçado from the literature, confirming its identification and demonstrating that this race is conserved in Southwestern Amazonia.

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Data availability

The samples of maize from Amazonia, corresponding to the Entrelaçado race, collected by this research project are stored in the Genetics Department of the Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture, University of São Paulo, Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil.


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We thank especially all local and indigenous farmers who collaborated with this research. We also thank the Collaborative Research Network of the Interdisciplinary Group of Agrobiodiversity Study (InterABio) and partners Ana Luiza Melgaço Ramalho (Pro-Indian Commission), Josy de Oliveira (Pro-Indian Commission), Amauri Siviero (Embrapa Acre), Valquiria Garrote (Federal University of Acre), Waldir Cruz (National Indian Foundation), Albino Batista Gomes (Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation—ICMBio, Rio Ouro Preto Extractive Reserve), who supported the research.


The study was supported by the Research Support Foundation of the State of São Paulo (FAPESP) (process 2015/26837-0) and the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) (process 421045/2016-7); CNPq awarded scholarships and research fellowships to FMC, NCAS, EAV and CRC; The Foundation for Research Support of the State of Amazonas (FAPEAM) awarded a scholarship to RPA.

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Planning and design of research: FMC, NCAS, RV, CRC and EAV; Collecting data and ethnobotanical characterization: FMC, NCAS, RPA, PCB; Statistical analysis of phenotypic data and classification of maize races: FMC, NCAS and RV; Analysis of ethnobotanical data: FMC and NCAS; Manuscript drafting: FMC, NCAS, EAV and CRC; Manuscript review, support for the interpretation and discussion of the results: FMC, NCAS, RV, CRC, EAV, RPA, PCB, MH and FOF. All authors reviewed and contributed to the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Flaviane Malaquias Costa or Elizabeth Ann Veasey.

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Costa, F.M., Silva, N.C.d., Vidal, R. et al. Entrelaçado, a rare maize race conserved in Southwestern Amazonia. Genet Resour Crop Evol 68, 51–58 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10722-020-01008-0

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  • Landraces
  • Genetic resources
  • Conservation
  • Zea mays spp. mays