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Implications of genetic diversity in the improvement of silkworm Bombyx mori L.

Ximena Ruiz1*, and Martha Almanza1

Improvement programs depend on characterizing genetic resources, this process being the fundamental basis for determining the diversity and genetic divergence of such resources and thereby enabling a rigorous, efficient selection of the parentals that, through hybridization, will go on to enhance heterosis. The aim was to use the resulting hybrids to improve population mean with respect to genetic parameters used for the qualitative and quantitative traits that affect commercial natural silk production. Bombyx mori L. is a domesticated insect of global economic importance, mainly due to the production of natural silk but also for its relevance in rural agro-industry in tropical and subtropical regions. Non-textile uses currently being developed are also to the fore. These relate to such fields as science and academia, biomedicine, biotechnology, the pharmacological industry and cosmetics. With this in mind, the aim of the current article was to provide a general context for sericulture and in so doing give an overview of the silk production scenario nationally and go on to describe the importance of genetic diversity to silkworm breeding programs and to demonstrate how genetic drift, inbreeding, and artificial selection contribute to loss of genetic diversity in B. mori.

Key words: Cauca, genetic divergence, genetic improvement, sericulture.

1Universidad del Cauca, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, 190003 PopayŠn, Cauca, Colombia.
*Corresponding author (xruiz@unicauca.edu.co).

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