Diversity of Wild Yams

Since crop wild relatives constitute critical genetic sources for breeding potentially useful properties like pest resistance and temperature tolerance into staple crops, this study sets out to describe the diversity of wild yams (Dioscorea spp.) in Africa

Data resources used via GBIF : 4,000 occurrences
Yams at a market in Nigeria. Photo by Louis Kreusel licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Yams at a market in Nigeria. Photo by Louis Kreusel licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Since crop wild relatives constitute critical genetic sources for breeding potentially useful properties like pest resistance and temperature tolerance into staple crops, this study sets out to describe the diversity of wild yams (Dioscorea spp.) in Africa. The wild species are under risk of extinction due to factors such as habitat destruction and climate change. Analysing 4,000 occurrences from GBIF and other sources, researchers identified 43 species, five subspecies, four varieties and seven morphospecies, locating the highest levels of yam diversity in a contiguous belt stretching across Africa from Sierra Leone to Tanzania. They also point to a number of potential sites for conserving wild yams in Africa.

Citations

Magwé-Tindo, J., Zapfack, L., & Sonké, B. (2015). Diversity of wild yams (Dioscorea spp., Dioscoreaceae) collected in continental Africa. Biodiversity and Conservation. doi:10.1007/s10531-015-1031-4

Subject