In a refreshing twist, humans have been shown to be part of the solution to the issue of decreasing genetic diversity in our world rather than part of the problem. Global genetic diversity is being eradicated through any number of human-driven activities, the removal of large scale forests key among them.
Now researchers at Washington University in St. Louis report that farmers and families in Central America actually have saved genetic variation in the jocote (ho-CO-tay), (Spondias purpurea), a small tree that bears fruit similar to a tiny mango. And theyve done this by taking the plants out of the forest, their wild habitat, and growing them close to home for family and local consumption.
Allison Miller, Ph.D., a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Colorado, and former graduate student at Washington University, and Spencer T. Olin Professor of Biology Barbara Schaal, Ph.D., from Washington University, in conjunction with Peter Raven, Ph.D. Engelmann Professor of Botany and Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden, have shown multiple domestications of the jocote in Central America in the midst of large-scale deforestation, a practice that endangers genetic diversity.
Tony Fitzpatrick | EurekAlert!
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