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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #117963


item Johnson, Richard

Submitted to: Complete Book
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Johnson, R.C., Hodgkin, T. 1999. Core collections for today and tomorrow. Rome, Italy:International Plant Genetic Resource Institute.

Interpretive Summary: Core collections offer a tool to improve access and management of germplasm collections, and therefore, are of great interest to those that use and manage plant genetic resources. Over the past few years experience with core collections has increased as cores for many crops have been developed. The purpose of this publication is to review the current status of core collections and present examples of core development and utilization. Perhaps the best test of a core collection--regardless of the specifics of how it is developed or defined--is if it has improved documentation, evaluation, access and utilization of a germplasm collection. In this publication, we report many examples where core development has enhanced management and utilization of germplasm collections, but still, few cores have actually been developed for the major world seed crops. The results of this publication show that core collection development does improve germplasm utilization and should be a helpful guide for core collection development in the future.

Technical Abstract: Core collections of plant genetic resources consist of a limited set of accessions chosen to represent the genetic variation in a crop species and its wild relatives with minimum repetition. They were proposed to improve management and access of large and continually growing germplasm collections. Their essential features are restricted size, structured sampling of species or collections, and diversity. They have been initiated for a wide variety of crops, forages and wild species for many purposes. There are a wide array of methodologies that can be used to develop a representative core collection and the quality of a core can be measured in a variety of ways. It is shown that core collections have a clear role in improving access to germplasm collection and increasing collection utilization. But for the most part the major germplasm collections with the greatest number of accessions have not yet developed core collections. This publication outlines the methodology, problems, and successes of core collections to enhance the process of core collection development in the future.