Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/30/2011
Publication Date: 8/31/2011
Citation: Krueger, R. 2011. Date Palm Germplasm. In: Jain, S.M., Al-Khayri, J. M., Johnson, D. V., editors. Date Palm Biotechnology. 1st Edition. New York, NY: Springer. p. 313-336.
Technical Abstract: This book chapter reviews date palm genetic resources and their conservation. Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) is an important food crop in the Middle East and North Africa. Its center of origin and diversity most probably is the area near Iraq/Iran. From there, it spread throughout its present range of cultivation beginning in ancient times. ALthough as a species, date palm is not threatened, its level of genetic diversity might be vulnerable due to its selection by humans starting in ancient times. Current investigations suggest that date palm germplasm is conserved in traditional oasis culture. Literature reviews in conjunction with morphological and molecular analysis suggest that traditional oases have a bank of genetically diverse material consisting of seedlings and traditional local varieties, with some elite varieties that have been transported from other locales. There is a lack of formal efforts at ex-situ conservation of date palm germplasm. Therefore, it is vital to ensure the continued viability of traditional oasis culture as well as establishing ex-situ collections that will more efficiently support scientific investigations. The genus Phoenix also includes 12 other species, some of which have economic uses. Some of these other Phoenix spp are genetically vulnerable and consideration should be given to their conservation.