Maize participatory breeding in Portugal: Comparison of farmer's and breeder's on-farm selection

Pedro Mendes-Moreira, Zlatko Satovic, João Mendes-Moreira, João Pedro Santos, João Pedro Nina Santos, Silas Pêgo, Maria Carlota Vaz Patto

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8 Citations (Scopus)


“VASO” is a Portuguese participatory maize breeding project (1984), where several maize landraces such as “Pigarro” have been selected both by a farmer's (phenotypic recurrent selection) and a breeder's approach (S2 lines recurrent selection). The objectives of this study were to determine the phenotypic and genotypic responses to participatory selection using these two different approaches, to clarify to which extent both selection methods preserve genetic diversity, and conclude what is the preferred method to apply in sustainable farming systems. The results, obtained via ANOVA, regression analyses and molecular markers, indicate that for both selection methods, genetic diversity was not significantly reduced, even with the most intensive breeder's selection. Although there were some common outputs, such as the determinated versus indeterminated ears, cob and ear weight ratio per ear and rachis 2, specific phenotypic traits evolved in opposite directions between the two selection approaches. Yield increase was only detected during farmer selection, indicating its interest on PPB. Candidate genes were identified for a few of the traits under selection as potential functional markers in participatory plant breeding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-871
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Breeding
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • fasciation
  • genetic diversity
  • landraces
  • maize
  • participatory breeding
  • Pigarro
  • SSR
  • Zea mays L.


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