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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Cryopreservation of Plant Germplasm: Introduction and Some Observations

Author
item Towill, Leigh

Submitted to: Cryopreservation of Plant Germplasm II
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: January 1, 2002
Publication Date: March 20, 2002
Citation: TOWILL, L.E. 2002. CRYOPRESERVATION OF PLANT GERMPLASM: INTRODUCTION AND SOME OBSERVATIONS. Pp 3-21. In L.E. Towill and Y.P.S. Bajaj (eds.)Cryopreservation of Plant Germplasm II. Boitechnology in Agricultural and Forestry Series vol 50. Springer, London.

Interpretive Summary: Ex situ preservation of germplasm for higher plant species has been accomplished using either seeds or clones, but storage of these under typical conditions does not provide the extreme longevities that are needed to minimize risk of loss. Costs of maintenance and regeneration of stocks are also high. Systems that provide virtually indefinite storage should supplement existing methods and it is within this context that cryopreservation is presented. The use of low temperature preservation was initially more a concern of medicine and animal breeding, and was expanded to plants in the 1970's. Survival after cryogenic exposure now has been demonstrated for diverse plant groups including algae, bryophytes, fungi and higher plants. If survival is commonplace, then the eventual application is a cryopreservation system, whereby cells, tissues and organs are held indefinitely for use, often in the unforseen future. The increasing interest and capabilities for application could not have occurred at a more opportune time since expanding human populations have placed unprecedented pressures on plant diversity. This book emphasizes cryopreservation of higher plants and initially was driven by the concern for loss of diversity in crops and the recognized need that this diversity would be essential for continued improvement of the many plants used by society for food, health and shelter. The interest in cryopreservation has been expanded by conservationists and their concerns for retaining, as much as possible, the diversity of natural populations. The need for cryopreservation, thus, is well established.

Technical Abstract: Ex situ preservation of germplasm for higher plant species has been accomplished using either seeds or clones, but storage of these under typical conditions does not provide the extreme longevities that are needed to minimize risk of loss. Costs of maintenance and regeneration of stocks are also high. Systems that provide virtually indefinite storage should supplement existing methods and it is within this context that cryopreservation is presented. The use of low temperature preservation was initially more a concern of medicine and animal breeding, and was expanded to plants in the 1970's. Survival after cryogenic exposure now has been demonstrated for diverse plant groups including algae, bryophytes, fungi and higher plants. If survival is commonplace, then the eventual application is a cryopreservation system, whereby cells, tissues and organs are held indefinitely for use, often in the unforseen future. The increasing interest and capabilities for application could not have occurred at a more opportune time since expanding human populations have placed unprecedented pressures on plant diversity. This book emphasizes cryopreservation of higher plants and initially was driven by the concern for loss of diversity in crops and the recognized need that this diversity would be essential for continued improvement of the many plants used by society for food, health and shelter. The interest in cryopreservation has been expanded by conservationists and their concerns for retaining, as much as possible, the diversity of natural populations. The need for cryopreservation, thus, is well established. This book advances the goals that the late Dr. Y.P.S. Bajaj presented in Springer¿s Agriculture and Biotechnology Series Vol. 32, Cryopreservation of Plant germplasm I. The aim is to highlight achievements in cryopreservation, chronicle method development, and describe relevant literature. Since the area is methodology rich, the presentation of detailed information should help practioners develop and improve methods for desired species. Cryopreservation has expanded beyond being an interesting research area. The generality of certain procedures and the understanding of the important processes that is emerging is very encouraging and means that cryopreservation can be now be applied for conservation purposes. The book is divided into four parts: I. Cryopreservation of germplasm. II. Herbaceous species (barley, chicory, celery, ginseng, garlic, chamomile, mint, hops, horseradish, taro, wasabi). III. Woody species. (eucalyptus, poplar, oak, guazuma, horsechestnut, neem, Prunus, olive, Ribes, rose, coffee). IV. Australian endangered species.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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