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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: RESEARCH TO DEVELOP STRATEGIES AND TECHNOLOGIES FOR PRESERVING PLANT GENETIC DIVERSITY IN EX SITU GENEBANKS

Location: Plant Germplasm Preservation Research Unit

Title: Chapter 25: Collecting pollen for genetic resources conservation

Author
item Volk, Gayle

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: July 22, 2011
Publication Date: October 16, 2011
Citation: Volk, G.M. 2011. Chapter 25: Collecting pollen for genetic resources conservation. In: Guarino, L., Ramanatha Rao, V., Goldberg, E., editors. Collecting Plant Genetic Diversity: Technical Guidelines. 2011 Update. Rome, Italy: Bioversity International. Available: http://cropgenebank.sgrp.cgiar.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=654

Interpretive Summary: Most long-term storage facilities associated with plant genebanks focus on conserving seeds and vegetative propagules in an ex situ environment. This review focuses on the value of conserving pollen as a complementary propagule to the seeds, dormant buds, and shoot tips that might already be conserved. The ease of pollen storage, shipment, and potential for its immediate use provide researchers with increased options when designing their breeding programs. Methods for pollen collection, desiccation, viability testing, and longevity assessment have been developed for many species of interest. These studies have revealed the critical importance of using high quality pollen and desiccating it sufficiently in a rapid manner and subsequent storage at very low temperatures for increased longevity. Pollen preservation in genebanks will likely be slowly implemented as standard operating procedures are developed.

Technical Abstract: Selection of pollen as a conservation target allows for the preservation of many diverse alleles within a genepool. Although it is possible to generate haploid plants from pollen grains, pollen is more commonly conserved as a gamete for gene conservation. The ease of pollen storage, shipment, and potential for its immediate use provide researchers with increased options when designing their breeding programs. Methods for pollen collection, desiccation, viability testing, and longevity assessment have been developed for many species of interest. These studies have revealed the critical importance of using high quality pollen and desiccating it sufficiently in a rapid manner and subsequent storage at very low temperatures for increased longevity. Reliable viability assessments are dependent upon adequate rehydration and the use of reliable stains, in vitro germination assays or in vivo pollination experiments. Pollen preservation in genebanks will likely be slowly implemented as standard operating procedures are developed.

Last Modified: 7/30/2014
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