A landrace is an identifiable, yet genetically variable population of domesticated crop or animal species that is selected by local farmers and adapted to the local agroecosystems, cultural practices, and climate in which it develops. Landraces are thus characteristic of the regions in which they have been developed. In the 1935 publication Phytogeographic Basis of Plant Breeding, Nikolay Vavilov identified many of these regions and found that these centers of diversity, which came to be known as “Vavilov centers of origin,” still contained considerable genetic diversity between and within landraces, and this diversity supported considerable cultural diversity. The vast majority of these centers are in the global South. This entry discusses the characteristics and emergence of landraces as well as the importance of preserving and ...

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