In Europe, agriculture is highly dependent on imported soybean from South America. Potential alternative sources are protein from peas (Pisum sativum L.) or more local sources like other grain legumes or rapeseed meal (Brassica napus L. subsp. oliefera [sic]). These are also good rotation crops. For farmers, protein and yield are key traits. In this study, a dataset containing 37 descriptors and 1222 accessions from a germplasm collection of P. sativum was analyzed. Scatterplot matrixes and tree regression analysis were used to establish the relationship among descriptors and to identify the most important predictors for seed yield and protein content respectively. Number of flowers per plant was shown to be important for seed yield prediction, followed by number of inflorescences per plant and number of pods per plant. In general, a negative correlation between seed protein content and seed yield was detected, but a few accessions that had both high seed yield and high protein content were identified. The results are discussed in relation to crop improvement and the importance of maintaining germplasm collections.
That’s the abstract from a paper in Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution called “Seed yield and protein content in the Weibullsholm Pisum collection,” by Svein Øivind Solberg, Flemming Yndgaard, Gert Poulsen and Roland von Bothmer. The Weibullsholm pea collection was the brainchild of Stig Blixt, one of the greats plant genetic resources, who died in 2009:1
Stig Blixt realized early the importance of building and maintaining a base collection of pea germplasm and he must have been one of the early leaders in using the power of a computerised database on the traits and origin of line. The research on peas at Weibullsholm ended in 1986 and by this time Stig Blixt had ensured the pea collection had been safely transferred to the Nordic Gene Bank. In 1988 he was employed as Head of Material Departement at the Nordic Gene Bank and 1989 he became Head of our development projects. He started our engagements in SADC (Southern Africa Development Community). In 1990 he was appointed Director for the gene bank and retired from his post at the end of 1992. He continued as Senior Scientist until his age retirement in 1995.
When I posted a link to the paper on Facebook, Dirk Enneking, who has contributed here in the past, had this to say:
We had three different prefixes in Australia for material from this collection. Peas from Weibullsholm are bound to be in every collection around the globe that keeps peas and my bet is that is highly replicated because of poor documentation in recipient collections, part of the problem being that no prefix was prescribed by the donor. The good news is that a lot of collections now have chance to link to a great set of evaluation data and if these don’t match with local experience to spot errors.
To which I can only say: I wish! Because of the lack of permanent identifiers for genebank accessions, making the link to this set of evaluation data will not always be possible. Ah but fear not, DOIs are coming!Footnotes:
- For some reason, his passing seems to have gone unmentioned on this blog, for which we sincerely apologize. [↩]