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Abstract Detail

Underutilized Crops for Secure and Green Futures

Lawton-Rauh, Amy [1].

Amaranthus – Highly Adaptable and Underutilized Crops and Weeds.

Amaranthus is a large and diverse genus with a fascinating history, containing over sixty member species including locally adapted leaf vegetable and pseudocereal crops, horticultural varieties, and noxious agricultural weeds. Most species in this genus are herbaceous annuals and all use C4 photosynthesis. Amaranthus species are generally wind pollinated, can produce as many as two hundred thousand seeds per female plant per season, and have ‘complete’ protein profiles. These attributes, in combination with other traits that segregate amongst five major Amaranthus clades, have contributed towards the successful establishment and proliferation of amaranths in cultivation and as aggressive agricultural weeds that severely impact food, fuel, fiber and bioproduct efforts (e.g. notorious herbicide-resistant pigweeds). The rapid, adaptive success of amaranths can serve as a model for the potential of underutilized species as locally adapted cultivars that require less management input. Amaranths, like other species that co-adapt with cultivars to agroecosystems, also present an opportunity to identify traits and genomic elements that underlie adaptation to changing environments. Such studies can compare and contrast the evolutionary signatures of local adaptation versus crops bred for large scale agricultural attributes for wider, less specific environments. Additionally, underutilized crops like amaranths with similar high adaptive amplitudes will provide resources for directly addressing food security and sustainability needs, particularly in resource-poor and environmentally unpredictable regions. In this talk, the phenotypic and genomic profiles of several crop and weed amaranths will be discussed in a phylogenetic context. The potential cultural, agricultural, genome dynamics, and general biological prospects and challenges of amaranth cultivation will also be discussed.

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1 - Clemson University, Genetics and Biochemistry, 316 Biosystems Research Complex, 105 Collings Drive, Clemson, South Carolina, 29634-0318, United States

Population Genomics
food security
weedy species
underutilized crops.

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Session: SY08
Location: Salon 17/18/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Time: 11:15 AM
Number: SY08008
Abstract ID:1429
Candidate for Awards:None

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