Book Review: Quantitative Genetics, Genomics and Plant Breeding


non-phenolic type. The purpose of the chapter ‘Population structure and the spatial dynamics of genetic polymorphism in thyme’ (Thompson) is to review the work on the ecology and evolution of the chemical and sexual polymorphisms, with focus on the importance of the population structure in T. vulgaris. The tables contained in the chapters ‘Essential oil chemistry of the genus Thymus’ (Stahl-Biskup) and ‘Flavonoids and further polyphenols’ (Vila) are very important (3.2, 5.4), in which all the results from chemical research work on Thymus species from 1960 to 2000 are summarized. These tables are provided to help the interested reader to consult original publications. As obviously the examined taxa are given under the name as they were published by the original author, it may happen that the same taxon appears as species or subspecies and/or with various names in the tables, e.g., T. jankae (pp. 98–99, 157) and T. praecox ssp. skorpilii (p. 101), T. alpigenus and T. praecox ssp. polytrichus (p. 96) or T. glabrescens (p. 98) and T. loevyanus (p. 158) are each synonyms. The attention of the reader, however, is not drawn to this fact, since neither on the list of Thymus species of the world (pp. 31–37) nor in the index mention of synonyms is made. Likewise, the apparent missing on the species list of the frequently quoted T. praecox ssp. arcticus, the chemical polymorphism (pp. 138–139) of which is described in detail, is astonishing. In reality it is not missing; however, it appears under another name (T. praecox ssp. britannicus), without the reader being informed that there are merely two different names for the same subspecies. The data of some information on T. serpyllum need to be interpreted with care (e.g., in Table 3.2 under Caucasia/Armenia, Pakistan, India), as it may happen that they do not refer to the temperate-boreal European species, but to the ‘collective species’ that used to be common, corresponding more to a section or several subsections. This broader sense approach holds also true for T. serpyllum referred to as an herbal drug in phytopharmacy under ‘Serpylli herba’ (e.g., Commission E monographs or German Pharmacopeia – DAB 2000). The chapter ‘The medicinal and non-medicinal uses’ (Zarzuelo & Crespo) reveals, that thyme has changed from a traditional herb to a serious drug in rational phytotherapy (antimicrobial, spasmolytic, antioxidant, antiparasitic and insecticidal effects). The non-medicinal use is no less important (food preservative, cosmetic and culinary uses). The book that follows a logical subdivision is richly illustrated, and its contents may be readily disclosed via the index of terms and taxa. The works is for all those a valuable goldmine who either are concerned with medicinal and aromatic plants in general or with Thymus in particular and who do so from the most diverse perspectives, and can be recommended both for the scientist and the user. The critical remarks do by no means reduce its value, they should however been taken into consideration in case of a new edition. In particular, the recommendation is made to facilitate an allocation of all Thymus taxa given in the book to the list of the Thymus species of the World (e.g., by references in the Index). Despite the oscillating of the chapters between the genus Thymus and selected Thymus species (in particular T. vulgaris) as well as the partly neglecting of species occurring outside the west Mediterranean region the volume ‘Thyme’ totally meets the above quoted motto of the series ‘Medicinal and aromatic plants – Industrial profiles’.

DOI: 10.1023/A:1023953829050

Cite this paper

@article{Vaughan2004BookRQ, title={Book Review: Quantitative Genetics, Genomics and Plant Breeding}, author={Duncan Alexander Vaughan}, journal={Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution}, year={2004}, volume={50}, pages={552-553} }