How broad is the genetic basis of Vietnamese Musa species? Population genetics and phylogeography as a tool to locate interesting alleles against biotic and abiotic stresses
In an era of globalization and climate change, it is important that novel and superior alleles are being identified and isolated from agricultural crops such as bananas since they hold the key to disease resistance and provide an important response to water deficit. As a result, the evolution of such alleles is of economic and agricultural importance and the identification of their population genetic structuring is crucial for future cultivation of economically important crops such as bananas. Since a high genetic diversity (and subsequent high number of different alleles) is often linked to refugial regions or areas with an increased diversification rate, it is important that these regions can be explored. Our aim is to provide a link between genetic diversity and the occurrence of useful alleles and tolerance to abiotic stress, drought, and biotic stress in the species rich forests of Vietnam. Besides the economic relevance of this project, it also provides a unique opportunity to study population genetics and ecology of subtropical plant species and its biotic and abiotic interactions.