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Date Palm Agrobiodiversity (Phoenix dactylifera L.) in Siwa Oasis, Egypt: Combining Ethnography, Morphometry, and Genetics

  • Vincent Battesti
  • Muriel Gros-Balthazard
  • Clémence Ogéron
  • Sarah Ivorra
  • Jean-Frédéric Terral
  • Claire Newton
Article
  • 69 Downloads

Abstract

We evaluate date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) agrobiodiversity of Siwa oasis, Egypt, located at the crossroads of ancient Trans-Saharan routes, focusing on diversity both as expressed and maintained by the folk categorization system of Siwa inhabitants (through an ethnographic analysis) and as described by genetic sciences and a morphometric tool based on size and geometry of seeds. We verified that some named types are true cultivars, sharing not only a formal identity, important for Isiwan people, but also a genetic identity. However, we also confirm the existence of “ethnovarieties,” i.e., voluntary collections of multiple clones sharing phenotypic characteristics with the same local name, suggesting the genetic richness is higher than the apparent agrobiodiversity estimated by a superficial ethnobotanical approach. Finally, our research offers new insights on the relative importance of feral and cultivated date palms.

Keywords

Agrobiodiversity Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) Ethnographical analysis Microsatellite markers Seed morphometrics, Siwa Oasis, Egypt, Ethnovariety 

Notes

Funding

This study was funded by GDR 3353 Mosaïque (2013 INEE, CNRS France), supported by the Agence nationale de la recherche (France): programme blanc, ANR-06- BLAN-0212-02-PHOENIX project (dir. M. Tengberg; WP coordinated by J.-F. Terral), and by PhD fellowships from the French Ministry of Research granted to Muriel Gros-Balthazard. The funders had no role in study design, data collection, and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. This article is the ISEM 2018-018 contribution.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10745_2018_6_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (148 kb)
Fig. S1 Synthetic presentation of the local categorization system of date palms (Phoenix dactylifera L.) in Siwa oasis (Egypt). First published in French in Battesti 2013 (PDF 147 kb)

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincent Battesti
    • 1
  • Muriel Gros-Balthazard
    • 2
    • 3
  • Clémence Ogéron
    • 2
  • Sarah Ivorra
    • 2
  • Jean-Frédéric Terral
    • 2
  • Claire Newton
    • 4
  1. 1.UMR 7206 Éco-anthropologie & Ethnobiologie, CNRS & Muséum National d’histoire Naturelle: Musée de l’HommeParisFrance
  2. 2.Institut des Sciences de l’Évolution de MontpellierUMR 5554 CNRS/Université de Montpellier/IRD/EPHE, CC065, Équipe Dynamique de la Biodiversité, Anthropo-écologieMontpellier Cedex 5France
  3. 3.Center for Genomics and Systems BiologyNew York University Abu DhabiAbu DhabiUAE
  4. 4.Laboratoire d’archéologie et de patrimoineUniversité du Québec à RimouskiRimouski (Québec)Canada

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