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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Plant Germplasm Collections: Quantity Or Quality?

Author
item PEDERSON, GARY

Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 20, 2002
Publication Date: October 20, 2001
Citation: Pederson, G.A. Plant germplasm collections: quantity or quality? Agronomy abstracts, 2001. Agronomy abstracts (cd-rom).

Interpretive Summary: The seed samples maintained in seed banks were collected in countries all over the world or obtained from other locations. Most seed banks tried to collect as many samples as possible of all plants of interest. Quantity was all that mattered. Presently, seed banks need to be more concerned with the uniqueness and quality of seed maintained rather than merely trying to accumulate greater numbers. Unique samples should be obtained that are not duplicated in the current collection. Resources should be concentrated on improving the quality, and not the quantity, of plant germplasm collections.

Technical Abstract: Plant germplasm collections have been formed through an accumulation of accessions either collected, donated, or obtained from available sources. Often, there was no systematic process for accumulating plant germplasm. Each accession obtained was considered to be unique and equal in value. Seemingly, the goal of collections was to accumulate as many accessions as possible for all genera and species of interest. Quantity was all that mattered. The age of accumulation in plant germplasm collections is over. Resources are no longer available to accumulate, preserve, and regenerate all possible accessions with no regard for quality. Problems such as seed mixtures, misidentifications, unavailability, poor viability, duplication, and redundancy are too common in large collections. Curators need to preserve genetic variability rather than accession numbers, obtain additional genetic variability, properly identify accessions, link duplicates, and reduce redundancy. Ideally, the goal of a plant germplasm collection is to preserve the complete range of genetic variability of all species of interest to be available for use today and in the future. This goal can best be achieved by concentrating resources on improving the quality, rather than the quantity, of plant germplasm collections.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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