Speaker: Eve Emshwiller, UW-Madison, Dept of Botany
Abstract: Dr Emshwiller will provide an overview of the value of crop genetic diversity and the kinds of information needed to conserve the diversity of crop plants and their wild relatives. An ongoing project in the Andes Mountains provides an example of research designed to provide information for conservation. The tuber crop "oca," Oxalis tuberosa, is second to potatoes in the diet and farming systems of traditional agriculturists in rural highland communities of Peru and Bolivia. The crop is a polyploid, with eight sets of chromosomes. Dr. Emshwiller's research has focused on finding out which wild Oxalis species may have hybridized to contribute oca's several genomes, and studying how the exchange of planting material among farming families has affected the distributions of varieties of the crop.