Author(s): Vigouroux Y, Barnaud A, Scarcelli N, Thuillet AC
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Abstract The human diet depends on very few crops. Current diversity in these crops is the result of a long interaction between farmers and cultivated plants, and their environment. Man largely shaped crop biodiversity from the domestication period 12,000 B.P. to the development of improved varieties during the last century. We illustrate this process through a detailed analysis of the domestication and early diffusion of maize. In smallholder agricultural systems, farmers still have a major impact on crop diversity today. We review several examples of the major impact of man on current diversity. Finally, biodiversity is considered to be an asset for adaptation to current environmental changes. We describe the evolution of pearl millet in West Africa, where average rainfall has decreased over the last forty years. Diversity in cultivated varieties has certainly helped this crop to adapt to climate variation. Copyright © 2011 Académie des sciences. Published by Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.
This article was published in C R Biol
and referenced in Agrotechnology