Application of molecular markers in spatial analysis to optimize in situ conservation of plant genetic resources

Maarten Van Zonneveld*, Ian Dawson, Evert Thomas, Xavier Scheldeman, Jacob Van Etten, Judy Loo, José I. Hormaza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


There is a growing recognition of the need to evaluate the diversity status and trends of plant genetic resources’ use and maintenance in natural populations, farmers’ fields, home gardens and in other in situ settings to prioritize and optimize conservation actions and link these effectively with ex situ preservation approaches. The recent development of new powerful molecular tools that reveal many genome-wide polymorphisms has created novel opportunities for assessing genetic diversity, especially when these markers can be linked to key adaptive traits and are employed in combination with new geo-spatial methods of geographic and environmental analysis. New methods to prioritize varieties, populations and geographic areas for in situ conservation, and to enable monitoring of genetic diversity over time and space, are now available to support in situ germplasm management of annual crop and tree genetic resources. We will discuss concepts and examples of application of molecular markers and spatial analysis to optimize in situ conservation. We present a case study on the distribution and genetic diversity of the underutilized new world fruit tree crop cherimoya (Annona cherimola Mill.) in its Andean distribution range to exemplify the usefulness of combining molecular marker and spatial data to inform in situ conservation decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGenomics of Plant Genetic Resources
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1. Managing, Sequencing and Mining Genetic Resources
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9789400775725
ISBN (Print)9789400775718
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Biogeography
  • Climate Change
  • Conservation genetics
  • Conservation genomics
  • Domestication
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Germplasm collection
  • Microsatellite markers
  • Simple sequence repeat
  • Spatial genetics


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