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Research Project: Management of Temperate-Adapted Fruit, Nut, and Specialty Crop Genetic Resources and Associated Information

Location: National Clonal Germplasm Repository

Title: Vavilovian centers of diversity: implications and impacts

Author
item Hummer, Kim
item HANCOCK, JIM - Michigan State University

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2015
Publication Date: 7/8/2015
Publication URL: http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/50/6/780.full.pdf+html
Citation: Hummer, K.E., Hancock, J. 2015. Vavilovian centers of diversity: implications and impacts. HortScience. 50(6):780-783.

Interpretive Summary: N. I. Vavilov, Academician of the V. I. Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences, takes his place as a founding pillar of knowledge in the cathedral of the origin and development of cultivated plants. Relying on the theories of his revered predecessors Charles Darwin and Alphonse de Candolle, Vavilov developed the concept of centers of origin for agronomic crops. Vavilov’s astute hypotheses set the stage for the modern use of exotic germplasm in plant breeding. Vavilov, a life-long scientist, used additional plant collections and data evaluation to continually revise and refine his theory of the centers of crop origins. Though he initially proposed three centers in 1924, his final papers of 1940 discussed seven major centers. His concept of specific centers of origin for crop plants was not an isolated aphorism but has directed breeders, to the continued improvement and economic development of plants for humanity. Inherent genetic plant variability is the basis of domestication and breeding into crops of economic importance with food, fuel, fiber, and industrial uses. The objective of this manuscript is to summarize Vavilov’s revised centers of origin of cultivated crops and discuss how these have been further modified by other scientists including, most notably, Jack Harlan. Examples of major crop species, including cereals, protein plants, starch crops, fruits, and vegetables, will be discussed in relation to their origins. Conservation of their genetic resources and potential for future development will be presented.

Technical Abstract: N. I. Vavilov, Academician of the V. I. Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences, takes his place as a founding pillar of knowledge in the cathedral of the origin and development of cultivated plants. Relying on the theories of his revered predecessors Charles Darwin and Alphonse de Candolle, Vavilov developed the concept of centers of origin for agronomic crops. Vavilov’s astute hypotheses set the stage for the modern use of exotic germplasm in plant breeding. Vavilov, a life-long scientist, used additional plant collections and data evaluation to continually revise and refine his theory of the centers of crop origins. Though he initially proposed three centers in 1924, his final papers of 1940 discussed seven major centers. His concept of specific centers of origin for crop plants was not an isolated aphorism but has directed breeders, to the continued improvement and economic development of plants for humanity. Inherent genetic plant variability is the basis of domestication and breeding into crops of economic importance with food, fuel, fiber, and industrial uses. The objective of this manuscript is to summarize Vavilov’s revised centers of origin of cultivated crops and discuss how these have been further modified by other scientists including, most notably, Jack Harlan. Examples of major crop species, including cereals, protein plants, starch crops, fruits, and vegetables, will be discussed in relation to their origins. Conservation of their genetic resources and potential for future development will be presented.