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VIII. General Considerations and Conclusions

VIII. General Considerations and Conclusions

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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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A. B. Damania

Genetic Resources Unit

International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)

Aleppo, Syria




IV .





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

Copyright Q 1990 by Academic Press, Inc.

All rights of reproduclion in any form reserved.



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

major genebanks.

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-

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VIII. General Considerations and Conclusions

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