89-8 Current Status of Corn Genetic Resources in Archeological Sites of Mexico: The Case for Ocampo, Tamaulipas.

Poster Number 286

See more from this Division: C08 Plant Genetic Resources
See more from this Session: General Plant Genetic Resources: III
Monday, November 1, 2010
Long Beach Convention Center, Exhibit Hall BC, Lower Level
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Sergio Castro1, Alfredo J. Huerta2, Ma. del Carmen Mendoza-Castillo3, Alberto Lopez-Santillan4 and Florencio Briones-Encinia4, (1)Universidad Autonoma de Tamaulipas, Victoria, Mexico
(2)Botany, Miami University, Oxford, OH
(3)Recursos Geneticos y Productividad, Colegio de Posgraduados, Texcoco, Mexico
(4)Agronomia y Ciencias, Universidad Autonoma de Tamaulipas, Victoria, Mexico
Much has been documented and discussed regarding plant genetic resources in Mexico and the world, especially regarding its importance for future food security.  In the case of corn, it has been noted that Mexico is the center of origin based on archeological evidence from Puebla, Oaxaca, and Tamaulipas.  It is thus important to consider the question of how much importance has really been given to the conservation of these resources and to promotion of research in this area by official institutions.  Reports by McNeish (1949) have described archeological excavations in caves located in Ocampo, Tamaulipas called La Perra, Romero, Valenzuela, and Ojo de Agua, the last three located in the Cañon del Infiernillo.  According to Mangelsdorf et al (1967), the most recent corn found in the Cueva de la Perra dates to about 2500 B.C., which has been identified as one of the precursors of the Nal-Tel landrace, still in existence today based on the work of Wellhausen et al. (1952).  The landrace of Chapalote corn appears to have originated from the other three caves.   In addition to corn (Zea mays), bean (Phaseolis vulgaris), vinatera pumpkin (Lagenaria siceraria), three species of squash (Cucurbita argyrosperma, C. moschata, and C. Pepo), teosinte, tripsacum and corn-teosinte hybrids have been found in the Ocampo caves.  This evidence demonstrates the significant variety of species, especially of corn, that existed in the past in the Ocampo area.  In fact, Ocampo hosted a “Corn Fair” until the year 1979 which promoted the development of useful and productive landraces of corn by local farmers.  Today, the planting of local landraces of corn has been drastically reduced, due to the growth of the sugar cane industry.  This and other factors have resulted in a significant loss of local corn genetic resources.  Today, there is a significant and worrisome lack of support by official institutions for the study and conservation of these genetic resources.  It is important to note that if official governmental or other support does not materialize soon; the availability of these genetic resources may disappear compromising the future safety of our food resources.
See more from this Division: C08 Plant Genetic Resources
See more from this Session: General Plant Genetic Resources: III