Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 167–174 | Cite as

Representation of wild Lactuca spp. (Asteraceae, Lactuceae) in world genebank collections

  • Aleš Lebeda
  • Ivana Doležalová
  • Dave Astley


The spread of the genus Lactuca worldwide includes 16 species in Europe, 51 in Asia, 43 in Africa and 12 in America (mostly North American subcontinent). Natural distributions of Lactuca spp. are compared with the representation of wild Lactuca spp. in world genebank collections as recently summarized in the “International Lactuca database” (ILDB). A total of 27 wild Lactuca species are reported in world genebank collections in the ILDB, however, due to incorrect taxonomic determination the real number of species is lower. The substantial part (92%) of the collections is represented only by three species (L. serriola, L. saligna, L. virosa) and from a geographic viewpoint they are mostly European in origin. The autochthonous species originating from other continents (Asia, Africa, America), which form c. 83% of known Lactuca spp. richness, are very poorly represented in collections (only c. 3%). The majority of accessions originate from Europe (59%) and Asia (37%), nevertheless the whole area of natural distribution is not well covered. An extremely low number of accessions is available from Africa and America (2% each). Thus, the global biodiversity of Lactuca spp. germplasm is represented very poorly and is biased in genebank collections. For future studies of taxonomy, phytogeography, ecology, phylogenetic relationships, genetic diversity, inter- and intra-population structure, resistance research and practical breeding exploitation of wild Lactuca spp. germplasm, plant material from a wider ecogeographic distribution must be collected and introduced into genebank collections more intensively.

Biodiversity Collecting strategy Conservation Genepools Natural habitats Phytogeography Plant genetic resources Taxonomy Wild growing species 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Science, Department of Botany, PalackýUniversity, Šlechtitelů 11Olomouc-HoliceCzech Republic (e-mail
  2. 2.Genetic Resources Unit, Horticulture Research InternationalWellesbourneUnited Kingdom

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