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Ecological-niche modelling of genetically distinct populations revealed Kersting’s groundnut [Macrotyloma geocarpum (Harms) Maréchal et Baudet] as a resilient orphan crop to present and future climates
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  • Mariam Coulibaly,
  • Enoch Gbenato Achigan-Dako,
  • Rodrigue Idohou,
  • Felicien Akohoue,
  • Andrew Petersen,
  • Mahamadou Sawadogo
Mariam Coulibaly
Laboratory of Genetics, Biotechnology and Seed Science (GBioS), Faculty of Agronomic Sciences, University of Abomey-Calavi
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Enoch Gbenato Achigan-Dako
University of Abomey-Calavi

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Rodrigue Idohou
Laboratory of Biomathematics and Forest Estimates, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Abomey-Calavi, BP 1493 Abomey-Calavi, Benin
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Felicien Akohoue
Laboratory of Genetics, Biotechnology and Seed Science (GBioS), Faculty of Agronomic Sciences, University of Abomey-Calavi, 01 BP 526 Abomey-Calavi, Republic of Benin
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Andrew Petersen
Biodiversity Institute, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA
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Mahamadou Sawadogo
Laboratory of Biosciences, Faculty of Earth and Life science, University of Ouaga I Pr. Joseph Ki-Zerbo, 03 BP 7021 Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
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Orphan legume crops play an important role in smallholder farmers’ food systems. Though less documented, they have the potential to contribute to adequate nutrition in vulnerable communities. Unfortunately, data are scarce about the potential of those crops to withstand current and future climate variations. Using Macrotyloma geocarpum as an example, we used genetically informed ecological niche models to explore the role of ecology on the current and future distributions of genetic populations of Kersting’s groundnut. Three main conclusions emerged: i) the models had good predictive power, indicating that M. geocarpum’s distribution was correlated with both climatic and soil layers; ii) identity and similarity tests revealed that the two genetic groups while overlapping, are each, locally adapted and display differences in climate suitability; iii) by integrating the genetic information in niche modeling, niches projections show divergence in the response of the species and genetic populations to ongoing climate change. This study highlights the importance of integrating genetic data into ecological niche modelling approaches to obtain finer scale information of species’ distribution, and explores the implications for agricultural adaptation, with a particular focus on identifying priority actions in orphan crops conservation and breeding.