History and Current Importance

  • Enrico BiancardiEmail author
  • Robert T. Lewellen


The ancestors of Beta maritima were known from prehistory. After domestication, beet became more important not only for food and drug source, but also as sugar (sucrose) producer. The cultivation for leaves and root to be used as vegetable or cattle feed retains its economic value. Beta maritima was described by several authors, becoming in the last century crucial as source of traits disappeared in the beet crops after domestication. The research has led to important results, especially in the field of resistance to severe diseases. An increasing numbers of publications are dedicated to Beta maritima because it fits well into studies concerning breeding in general, population genetics, natural selection, colonization, speciation, gene flow, transgenes pollution, and so on. The discovery of new useful qualities in the wild germplasm is expected by the application of molecular biology.


Beta maritima Origin Domestication History Crop evolution Breeding 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stazione Sperimentale di BieticolturaRovigoItaly
  2. 2.USDA-ARSSalinasUSA

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