Genetic resources of fruit trees in the Fertile Crescent: a hotspot heritage
Several major and minor temperate and subtropical fruit trees trace their origin to and were domesticated in the Fertile Crescent which spans across two geographical zones: the Mediterranean coast of the Levant and Mesopotamia. Due to its diverse environmental and edaphic variability and genetic resources, a multitude of heirloom cultivars of olive, grapevine, apple, almond, cherry, plum, fig, pomegranate, and date palm have been under cultivation for millennia. However, due to genetic erosion caused by interacting environmental and anthropogenic factors, as well as replacement with modern cultivars, valuable fruit genetic resources of the region, particularly traditional varieties and wild relatives, have been lost. Current and projected climate change threatens the remaining well-adapted fruit tree species and their genetic diversity unless appropriate conservation and sustainable utilization measures are taken. The objectives of this review were to assess the current status of, identify major threats to, and suggest a holistic conservation strategy for the major fruit trees and their genetic resources in the Fertile Crescent.
Chalak, L., Baydoun, S.A. and Jaradat, A.A. (2020). Genetic resources of fruit trees in the Fertile Crescent: a hotspot heritage. Acta Hortic. 1267, 77-84
Fertile Crescent, fruit genetic resources, conservation, sustainable utilization, threats, management strategy