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Diversity of Wild Potato Species in Bolivia
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Wild potatoes are relatives of the cultivated potato (mainly Solanum tuberosum). They occur in the American continent, from Colorado (USA) to Argentina and Chile, and are most abundant in the Andes of Peru and Bolivia. Wild potatoes are used in breeding programs to improve the cultivated potato. To conserve and use wild potatoes they have been collected and stored in ex-situ gene banks. However, additional in-situ conservation may be desirable. To guide in-situ conservation in a meaningful way, the spatial distribution of wild potato diversity needs to be assessed. Some results of a case study on the diversity of wild potatoes in Bolivia are presented.

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The primary data used are the data bases of the main potato gene banks.
Much time was spent checking and correcting the geo-references of the accessions. Plotting the locations where the wild potatoes were found shows that the data base suffers from spatial biases. (For example, the collection expeditions mainly traveled over the (main) roads, and this introduced a strong road bias.) Most of the work was carried out during a 6 month period by a MSc student. The work was carried out on a PC using IDRISI and ARC/INFO software. result.jpg 1.67 K
Some of the data biases, and ways to correct them in order to produce less biased diversity maps, have been identified and quantified. The results enrich our understanding of wild potato diversity and may improve efforts on in-situ conservation.

Distance from the nearest road of the locations where wild potatoes were collected compared with "random" distance from the nearest road.

Departments (thick lines) and capitals (blue dots), roads (thin lines) and locations where wild potatoes were collected (red dots).

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Contact : Robert J. Hijmans, International Potato Center (CIP)
Apartado 1558, La Molina, Lima 12, Peru
Fax: +51 1 3495638
E-mail: r.hijmans@cgnet.com | http://www.cipotato.org/