Annalisa Silvanini1*, Daniela Torello Marinoni2*, Gabriele Loris Beccaro2, Tommaso Ganino1
1 Dipartimento di Biologia Evolutiva e Funzionale – Sezione Biologia Vegetale, Università degli Studi di Parma – Via Usberti, 11/a – 43124 Parma. Fax: 0521.905403. E-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Dipartimento di Colture Arboree dell’Università degli Studi di Torino - Via Leonardo da Vinci, 44 - 10095 Grugliasco (TO). Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
*Autore per corrispondenza: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
La presenza del genere Castanea in Europa viene segnalata già in età terziaria; il genere si diffuse sulle terre emerse grazie alla sua capacità di adattamento ed all’azione antropica che ne favorì la diffusione. La coltura del castagno è infatti una pratica assai remota, da cui si originarono un gran numero di forme spesso difficili a caratterizzarsi scientificamente. Allo scopo di identificare e caratterizzare le varietà coltivate appartenenti alla specie C. sativa sono stati utilizzati nel corso della storia due principali metodi quali quello morfologico prima e quello molecolare dopo. Obiettivo di questo lavoro è quello di ordinare cronologicamente i principali sistemi di caratterizzazione allo scopo di dare al lettore una visione completa ed esaustiva dello stato dell’arte.
Parole chiave: castagno, schede castanografiche, caratterizzazione morfologica, marcatori molecolari, SSR
The Castanea which belong to the Fagaceae or Copuliferae family which also contains Lithocarpus, Northofagus and Quercus was nominated in 1753 by Carl Nilsson Linneaus as Fagus Castanea, this emphasizing the beech relationship. In 1768 Philip Miller interpreted the tree as an independent genus reclassifying it with the current binomial.
The genus with its species has spread over three main areas, represented by Europe and the Mediterranean countries, Asia and North America.
Present chestnut biodiversity displays a high genetic variability, due to its adaptation capacity to quite different pedoclimatic conditions.
In Europe, Castanea sativa Mill. diffusion is attributable to both its adaptation capacity and man’s intervention and especially to the work of Roman and Greek civilizations and to monastic orders during the Middle Ages. The overlapping of these elements has made reconstruction of genus origin and diffusion quite difficult and has originated a large number of forms difficult to characterize.
The intuitive process according to which the selected plants were characterisated according to their most conspicuous features, by utilizing the so called “vernacular” names, further contributed to increase synonyms and therefore varietal confusion.
For the characterization of the cultived verieties of Castanea sativa Mill. two main methods have been utilized; the morphological method was started as back as the XVII century, while the molecular techniques have been adopted of the beginning of the XXI century.
Recent genetic developments and use of molecular markers has further helped to clarify and develop models of species diffusion and to understand the effects of man’s intervention. In this review is presented the state of the art of traditional and molecular chestnut varietal classification, with emphasis on its limits and peculiarities by comparing research methodologies and results obtained.
A classification history and different approaches to varietal characterisation during centuries emerged from this analysis. The earliest classification were mostly based on mainly botanical characters; later agronomical characters were included, with the aim of distinguishing an individual from another in the same species as agricultural varieties. By the beginning of 2000 it was possible to introduce the molecular characterisation which has dramatically increased the potential in both varietal classification and in the studies on the genus origin.
Scientists today agree on the assumption that the combination of morphological and molecular techniques is essential for a proper and complete characterisation of chestnut germplasm.
Keywords: European chestnut, chestnut descriptors, morphological characterization, molecular markers, SSR markers.