The first step of the recovery project:
In the summer 2006 it was noticed that a farmer preserved seeds of Lungavilla’s pumpkin landrace by regularly seeding it in his vegetable garden. Due to the fact that pumpkin is an allogamous crop, plants showed a certain degree of hybridization. The discovery of plants survived to extinction was the starting point for the project aimed at recovering the landrace original traits.
To start with, data were collected about the status of capped pumpkin (capped) landrace in the Po flood plain. The High School for Agriculture “A.Zanelli” of Reggio Emilia, that hosts a collection of this landrace, gave important information and advice to plan the recovery project. One more advisor of the project was the National Seeds Institute. On April 2007 some plots were organized to compare Lungavilla’s pumpkin with other cultivars from the Po floodplain, namely Marina di Chioggia, Bertagnina di Dorno, Berretta di Guastalla.
Pumpkin leaf samples taken from plots were analyzed in the labs of National Seeds Institute according to AFLP (Amplified Fragments Length Polymorphism). Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) is a PCR-based method that uses selective amplification of a subset of digested DNA fragments to generate and compare fingerprints for genomes of interest. The amplified fragments are separated and visualized on denaturing polyacrylamide gels. The analysis of amplified fragments can give information on the degree of similarity among compared samples.