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VIII. General Considerations and Conclusions
variate techniques or a combination of them offer very relevant biological
information and are statistically simple.
The integration of certain ordination and classification multivariate
methods into so-called “pattern” analysis and factor analysis and the
biplot method are valuable tools for grouping environments or genotypes
showing similar response patterns.
The combination of analysis of variance and principal components analysis in the AMMI model, along with prediction assessment, is a valuable
approach for understanding genotype-environment interaction and obtaining better yield estimates. Agronomic predictive assessment with
AMMI can be used to analyze the results of on-farm trials. More research
is needed to quantify the probability of successful selection of a genotype
or agronomic treatment when using AMMI predictive value, compared
with the probability of its selection based on the predictive value of other
Only qualitative or crossover interactions are relevant in agriculture.
Therefore, appropriate statistical analysis for quantifying and testing
changes in rank from one environment to another is required.
More attention has to be devoted to the collection, analysis, and interpretation of environmental and physiological variables. This will help to
characterize particular genotypes and geographical regions and therefore
better explain certain aspects of the interaction.
The author thanks Drs. Kent Eskridge, Paul Fox, and Hugh Gauch for their helpful
comments on the manuscript.
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ADVANCES IN AGRONOMY, VOL. 44
DOCUMENTATION OF GENETIC
RESOURCES IN CEREALS
A. B. Damania
Genetic Resources Unit
International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)
Evaluation of Cultivated Wheat
Evaluation of Cultivated Barley
Genetic Resources from Ethiopia
Evaluation of Wild and Primitive Forms of Wheat and Barley
Documentation of Genetic Resources
Summary and Conclusions
Agriculture is a relatively recent historical phenomenon having begun
just over 10,000 years ago in the near East and later in Central America.
Through the increase of food after the beginning of the agricultural (neolithic = food producing) revolution, the human species has incredibly
multiplied its own population at the expense of the rest of the world’s biota
(Reed, 1969). Early farmers initiated a series of partly conscious selections
that have resulted in the landraces we see today. Plant breeding activity
did not begin until the mid-1800s. This activity gathered pace after the turn
of the century and breeders such as Strampelli were already using wild
and primitive forms in breeding programs following the rediscovery of
Mendel’s work (Maliani and Bianchi, 1979).
Vavilov (1926) was the first to realize the need for a broad genetic base
for crop plant improvement. But after the Second World War, massive
aid projects led to the development of high-yielding cultivars that began
steadily replacing the local varieties (landraces), thus narrowing the genetic base of several vital crops such as wheat, barley, and rice. By the
1960s, an urgent need was expressed in two symposia (Frankel and Ben87
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A. B. DAMANIA
nett, 1970; Frankel and Hawkes, 1975a) to preserve the older more variable germplasm and wild relatives, which began to be referred to as genetic
resources. The term “genetic resources” per se excludes breeding lines
and recently released varieties (Frankel and Hawkes, 1975b), which are
composed of gene combinations rather than the genes themselves. The
two symposia also thoroughly reviewed the need for immediate and systematic exploration and collection on a worldwide scale of genetic resources of food and other commercial crops.
An International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR) was
formed in 1972 by the Technical Advisory Committee of the Consultative
Group on International Agricultural Research to undertake the plant collection and conservation recommended by the symposia. With the establishment of the IBPGR, collection and conservation of representative
samples of genetic variability in landrace populations were accelerated and
a large number of samples began to accumulate in the cold stores of the
Genetic resources merely stored safely are of little value to plant
breeders unless they are evaluated and the resulting data made widely
available. Evaluation is, therefore, an essential link between conservation
and use. In fact, Frankel (1987) categorically stated that genetic resources
have been utilized without elaborate characterization, but never without
The next step was to evaluate the collected samples to identify sources
of useful traits in order that the material be better utilized than in the past.
The evaluation process for large collections follows several distinct stages:
(a) seed multiplication and preliminary evaluation; ( 6 ) systematic evaluation of the entire collection; and (c) further evaluation of selected accessions (Chang, 1985). The utilization aspect of genetic resources was recently reviewed by Brown et al. (1989), wherein factors that are likely to
limit or facilitate this process are discussed.
Genetic resources workers discriminate between “characterization”
and “evaluation” (Erskine and Williams, 1980; Hawkes, 1985), although
this fact is not widely known. Characterization is defined as recording
information only once on those traits that are highly heritable, easily
visible, and expressed in all environments, for example, grain patterns and
isozyme profiles. Characterization provides a standardized record of
readily observable morphological characters that, together with passport
(origin) data, identify an accession in the genebank. Evaluation, on the
other hand, is the assessment of more variable traits for potential use in
breeding, such as plant height, time to maturity, disease resistance, and
protein content. This is done in several ways: growing the material in
different environments, exposing it to various abiotic and biotic stresses,
assessing grain quality, and selecting the best lines for the desirable attri-