Climatic changes and plant genetic resources: the overlooked potential of Cabo Verde’s endemic flora

  • FCT
  • International Research Project
  • 2018 to 2023

Africa’s food security will be under threat due to adverse constraints of climate changes (e.g. drought, desertification, soil degradation, water supply) on agricultural systems. Crop Wild Relatives (CWR) represent a large pool of genetic diversity required in breeding programs to increase the adaptive capacity of agricultural systems. The main goal of this project is to identify the unexplored CWR taxa of Cabo Verde, to increase the sustainable use of biodiversity in improving food security. We will review the current state of knowledge in agricultural biodiversity, providing new data on plant genetic resources to supplement the breeding pool of abiotic stress tolerance. Specifically, we will produce an inventory of the Cabo Verde CWR that will provide data for developing a “National Strategy for Plant Genetic Resources” to be implemented by the local institutions. Also, we will integrate ecological (e.g. species distribution models) and molecular tools (e.g. genetic diversity, genomics) to: infer species distribution scenarios under climatic variations; determine potential areas of CWR occurrence, for their conservation; and identify genes linked to abiotic stress useful in breeding programs to increase crop productivity. Our case-study is the CWR of Brassica L. (Brassicaceae) that is one of the most economically important genus worldwide. Of special interest is the genus Diplotaxis DC., since it includes the CWR of the economically important brassica crops B. napus and B. rapa (oilseed rape) and B. oleracea (broccoli). Diplotaxis with ca. 30 species (9 endemic in Cabo Verde) represents the biggest plant radiation of this archipelago. These species occur in a wide range of habitats, representing an important reservoir of agronomically important genes for abiotic stress tolerance.

Funding Institution:

AKDN (Aga Khan DevelopmentNetwork) & FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia)”  - CVAgrobiodiversity/333111699.


Partners: Instituto Superior de Agronomia (Universidade de Lisboa), Fundação da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Universidade dos Açores, Universidade de Cabo Verde (Uni-CV), Escola Superior de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais (ECAA), Instituto Nacional de Investigação e Desenvolvimento Agrário (INIDA) (Cabo Verde) & Direção Nacional do Ambiente de Cabo Verde.

Project Team: Ana Isabel Ribeiro, José Carlos Costa, Augusto Manuel Correia, Pedro Talhinhas, Rui Nóbrega Figueira, Mónica Maria Tavares Moura, Luís Filipe Dias e Silva, Maria Salomé Soares Pais, Isildo Gomes, Arlindo Fortes, Vladmir Ferreira, Elsa Simões & Herculano Dinis.