Ethnobotanical survey and genetic conservation of underutilized leafy vegetables in Lagos, Nigeria
Many of the leafy vegetables used for food in Nigeria are neglected and underutilized. To assess their diversity in Lagos State, an ethnobotanical survey and genetic conservation was carried out to preserve indigenous knowledge on their usage and conserve their DNA for future use. This involved collection of leafy vegetables from eight different markets in Lagos followed by semi-structured questionnaire-guided interview and extraction of DNA samples. Three hundred respondents participated in the study comprising 81.67% female and 18.3% male. A total of 19 leafy vegetables belonging to 18 genera and 14 plant families were documented. About 52.6% of the documented leafy vegetables are restricted to southern Nigeria, while 47.4% are available and used nationwide. All the collected samples yielded high molecular weight DNA; these have been deposited at the University of Lagos DNA bank. The purity of the samples was also high with exception to that of Crassocephalum cerepidioides and Heinsia crinata. This work has contributed to the preservation of knowledge on leafy vegetables in Lagos and conservation of their DNA can be seen as a first step in the genetic conservation of the samples serving as a basis upon which other research can be based.
Keywords: Biorepositories, Ethnobotany, Indigenous Knowledge, Leafy Vegetables, NUS.