Due to the loss of agro-biodiversity, there is a strong effort to find apparent and efficient mechanisms for the conservation and sustainable use of genetic diversity. A joint monitoring of the diversity and collections structure of the Montenegrin maize landraces conserved in the Serbian (MRIZPGB) and Montenegrin (MGB) gene banks has been conducted in order to improve the composition of the collections and to identify and eliminate possible redundancy. Based on a separate analysis of white- and yellow-orange maize landraces, it can be concluded that the diversity and evolution of distinct maize landraces grown and collected in Montenegro have been simultaneously shaped by both environmental (i.e., natural selection) and socially driven factors (farmers' selection, migration and colonization processes of the human population). Although it has been determined that the authenticity and variability of the Montenegrin maize landraces gene pool have largely been preserved in the MRIZPGB collection, a significant amount of redundancy was observed. The obtained results will contribute to the cost-efficient conservation of the maize gene pool in the Montenegrin and Serbian gene banks. The recognized and well-preserved original variability of the MRIZPGB and MGB Montenegrin gene pool represents a valuable source for pre-breeding activities on broadening the white and flint maize breeding programmes under temperate conditions.
Keywords: Zea mays L.; classification; duplicate accessions; germplasm conservation; morphology.