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Akopian J.,Armenian National Academy of Sciences | Sarukhanyan N.,Green Lane Agricultural Assistance NGO | Gabrielyan I.,Armenian National Academy of Sciences | Vanyan A.,Green Lane Agricultural Assistance NGO | And 7 more authors.
Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution | Year: 2010

Vavilovia (Vavilovia Fed.) is one of the five genera in tribe Fabeae and consists of only one species, 'beautiful' vavilovia (Vavilovia formosa (Stev.) Fed.). The main centre of distribution is the Central and Eastern Caucasus, with a disjunct distribution among high alpine areas in the region, extending as far as West Turkey, Lebanon and Iran. In Armenia, in situ studies on Vavilovia started in the late 1930s. In July and August 2009, three expeditions were conducted to two locations: two to the Ughtasar Mountain and one to the Geghama Mountains. The first expedition to Ughtasar resulted in fresh plant collections and soil analysis for one of the sites. The expedition to Geghama established the existence of Vavilovia in the region of Lake Aknalitch. The second expedition to Ughtasar provided immature fruits and seeds. Collected plant material was transplanted into the Flora and Vegetation of Armenia plot of the Yerevan Botanic Garden established in 1940. Today, along with other plants the plot contains more than 200 species of wild relatives of cultural plants from 130 genera, including indiginous species of tribe Fabeae such as Vavilovia. The transplanted plants will continue to be monitored to see if the plants go on to successfully flower and set seed or whether further sites, possibly at higher altitudes might need to be tested to meet the long term conservation requirements of this iconic legume. These co-ordinated efforts provide a good example of an ex situ conservation strategy for Vavilovia formosa, which, if successful will improve access and utility for the whole legume research community. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Mikic A.,Serbian Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops | Smykal P.,Palacky University | Kenicer G.,Royal Botanical Garden | Vishnyakova M.,Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences | And 18 more authors.
Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society | Year: 2013

Vavilovia formosa is a relict, endangered species from the highlands of the Caucasus and the Near East. Described in 1812, it has had an uncertain status and was finally recognized as a separate genus of tribe Fabeae (Fabaceae). Our informal international group was established in 2007 to revive the interest in this species as it had been seriously neglected for decades. Here, we provide an overview of the accumulated knowledge on V.formosa and present the results of the most recent multidisciplinary research. Three expeditions were made to two locations in Armenia in 2009, providing the material for anatomical, morphological, chemical and molecular analysis. Unlike previous attempts, ex situ conservation in Yerevan and in vitro propagation, important for potential interspecific hybridization, were successful. Molecular tools were used to clarify the taxonomic position of V.formosa, often considered the closest to the extinct ancestor of the whole tribe. The analysis of four informative regions of plastid and nuclear DNA showed that V.formosa belongs to the same clade as Lathyrus and Pisum, with a distinct status. Preservation and maintenance of V.formosa remains the only basis for further development of all other scientific aspects, especially breeding and uses in agronomy. © 2013 The Linnean Society of London.

Mikic A.,Serbian Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops | Smykal P.,Palacky University | Kenicer G.,Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh | Vishnyakova M.,Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences | And 18 more authors.
Planta | Year: 2014

Main conclusion: Vavilovia formosa(Stev.) Fed. is a scientifically valuable common ancestor of the plant tribe Fabeae and also important in breeding and agronomy studies of the cultivated Fabeae, but it is close to extinction. A concerted academic and geovernmental effort is needed to save it.Abstract: Since 2007, an informal international group of researchers on legumes has been working to increase awareness of Vavilovia formosa (Stev.) Fed., a relict and endangered wild-land relative to crop plant species. A majority of the modern botanical classifications place it within the tribe Fabeae, together with the genera vetchling (Lathyrus L.), lentil (Lens Mill.), pea (Pisum L.) and vetch (Vicia L.). V. formosa is encountered at altitudes from 1,500 m up to 3,500 m in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Russia, Syria and Turkey. This species may be of extraordinary importance for broadening current scientific knowledge on legume evolution and taxonomy because of its proximity to the hypothetical common ancestor of the tribe Fabeae, as well as for breeding and agronomy of the cultivated Fabeae species due to its perenniality and stress resistance. All this may be feasible only if a concerted and long-term conservation strategy is established and carried out by both academic and geovernmental authorities. The existing populations of V. formosa are in serious danger of extinction. The main threats are domestic and wild animal grazing, foraging, and early frosts in late summer. A long-term strategy to save V. formosa from extinction and to sustain its use in both basic and applied research comprises much improved in situ preservation, greater efforts for an ex situ conservation, and novel approaches of in vitro propagation. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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