Ecogeography of annual wild Cicer species: The poor state of the world collection

Jens Berger*, Shahal Abbo, Neil C. Turner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


The annual wild Cicer species are becoming increasingly important to the culfigen (Cicer arietinum L.) as a source of genetic diversity, and resistance to both biotic and abiotic stresses. The objectives of this study were to consolidate and review the current status of the world collection of annual wild Cicer species and the closely related perennial, C. anatolicum Alef. The world collection is very limited. Although 572 entries are held in nine genebanks around the world, only 287 are separate accessions, the rest represent duplicated material. However, only 124 accessions (43%) were collected independently from wild populations, the remaining 163 represent selections from the original material. These 124 original accessions are not evenly distributed between species. There is only a single original accession of C. cuneatum Hochst ex. Rich, two of C. chorassanicum (Bunge) Popov, three of C. yamashitae Kitamura, eight of C. anatolicum, 10 of C. echinospermum P. H. Davis, 18 of C. reticulatum Ladzinsky, 20 of C. bijugum Rechinger, 28 of C. pinnatifidum Jaubert & Spach, and 34 of C. judaicum Boissier. Principal components analysis was used to summarize the habitat characteristics of the annual wild Cicer collection sites in terms of geography and climate, and compare these with the range of habitats recorded for the species in regional floras. With few exceptions, the range of habitats sampled in ex situ collections is far smaller than that covered by the species' distribution in the wild. As a consequence of low original accession number, and narrow collection site distribution, the world collection represents only a fraction of the potential diversity available in wild populations. We suggest that targeted collection missions based on ecogeographic principles are imperative.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1076-1090
Number of pages15
JournalCrop Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003


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