Seri biodiversity: An important approach for improving quality of life
M Younus Wani, NA Ganie, Rauoof Ahmad Rather, Sheetle Rani and ZA Bhat
The art of silk production is called sericulture that comprises cultivation of mulberry, silkworm rearing and post cocoon activities leading to production of silk yarn. Sericulture provides gainful employment, economic development and improvement in the quality of life to the people in a rural area and therefore it plays an important role in anti-poverty programme. India is a major centre of Seri biodiversity with diverse sericigenous fauna and flora. India represents a wide range of biodiversity due to its diverse climatic and cultural practices. Although mulberry silk dominates but non mulberry silks have also an important role in global silk. The natural silk producing insects are broadly classified as mulberry and wild or non-mulberry. Non-mulberry sericulture is universally known as forest or wild sericulture that provides an important source of employment for the native population in forest areas. North east region of India is considered as the floral and faunal gate way for Asian main land to Indian Peninsula. The region is also considered as one of the 34 biodiversity hot spots of the world. Diversity of silkworm at the gene level is critical to success in any crop breeding as it serves a platform for specific breeding programmes. Genetic diversity is a particular concern because greater genetic uniformity in silkworm can increase vulnerability to pests and diseases. Hence, maintenance of genetic diversity is a fundamental component in long-term management strategies for genetic improvement of silkworm which is cultivated by millions of people around the globe for its lusture silk (Queen of textiles). The genetic diversity studies carried out in silkworm using divergent methods viz, quantitative traits, biochemical and molecular markers and in the present article the level of diversity and factors responsible for loss of diversity are reviewed.