Genetic Diversity in Taro, and the Preservation of Culinary Knowledge

Matthews, Peter J.
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
The origins, domestication and dispersal of taro are outlined, as far as they are known, and recent surveys of genetic variation are reviewed. These surveys have established that taro, an ancient root crop in Asia, Africa and the Pacific, is genetically very diverse. Across the full geographical range of taro, very little is known about what forms of taro are grown for what economic and culinary purposes. Ethnographic research on taro as a food, and the preservation of culinary knowledge associated with taro, are needed for the preservation of genetic diversity in this crop. Much will depend on how the crop is developed and promoted commercially, and on active interest and support for the crop among local growers, cooks, distributors and consumers.
Matthews PJ. 2004. Genetic diversity in taro, and the preservation of culinary knowledge. Ethnobotany Res Appl 2:55–71.
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