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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Maintaining Genetic Fidelity in Germplasm Collections

Authors
item Ellis, David
item Gardner, Candice

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: August 1, 2006
Publication Date: June 28, 2006
Citation: Ellis, D.D., Gardner, C.A. 2006. Maintaining genetic fidelity in germplasm collections. Proceedings for the APEC workshop on effective genebank managment, June 28, 2006, Suwon, Korea. Meeting Proceedings.

Interpretive Summary: The conservation of plant genetic resources are critical to ensure future generations contain the vast diversity of traits needed to meet challenges to our food supply such as drought, increased salinity and global warming. One of the best ways to ensure security of these genetic resources is through the conservation of seed in secure storage facilities known as genebanks. The responsibility of the genebanks are to keep all the unique characters in each seed collection protected for future use. Unwanted new genetic material can be introduced into these unique collections by mixing seed from two or more collections or during the process of regenerating additional seed from these collections. The incorporation of unwanted new genetic material into a genebank collection is considered contamination and all efforts should be made to prevent this contamination of the seed collection. In 2004, a meeting in Rome was organized to discuss ways to prevent such contamination, particularly contamination from genetically engineered plants. The outcome of this meeting was the recommendation of 15 Guiding Principles for genebank management. These principles highlighted the use of Best Practices in genebank management as the best method to prevent contamination of samples from unwanted genetic material. In this paper, we use maize in the National Plant Germplasm System as a model for how best practices can be used to address the issues put forth in the Guiding Principles for genebank management.

Technical Abstract: The establishment of guidelines to define Best Practices for genebank management has been a topic of discussion for many years at several different venues. Most recently, at a 2004 workshop sponsored by the Genetic Resources Policy Committee and the Science Council of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (GGIAR) recommendations for guidelines were established that called on the Future Harvest Genebanks to use best practices as a means to avoid contamination and admixing during regeneration, processing and seed storage. While these recommendations were not binding for the US National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS), the NPGS has written protocols for best practices for genebanking for many crops. This paper discusses the best practices established for the handling of maize in the NPGS and uses these best practices as an example of how to best implement the recommendations from the 2004 CGIAR workshop. The major points for best practices in genebank management as outlined in this paper include: 1. Maintaining all germplasm in the best quality condition possible 2. Maintaining the unique and distinct genetic nature of every accession 3. Establishing procedures for monitoring trueness to type 4. Ensuring that complete documentation is recorded for every stage of the process.

Last Modified: 9/2/2014
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