Submitted to: Proceedings of the International Congress on Botanical Authentication: State of the Science
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/9/2007
Publication Date: 8/23/2007
Citation: Hellier, B.C. 2007. Maintaining Medicinal Plant Germplasm. First International Conference on Botanical Authenticaton: State of the Science, August 23-25, 2007, Bastyr University, Seattle, WA. Meeting proceedings.
Interpretive Summary: N/A
Technical Abstract: For all plant genetic resources collections, including medicinal plant germplasm, maintaining the genetic integrity of material held ex situ is of major importance. This holds true for all intended end uses of the material whether it is as a source for crop improvement, medical research, as voucher specimens, or for conservation/restoration work. The two main components of maintaining plant genetic resources collections are storage and regeneration. In both components the genetic integrity of the material is safeguarded by preventing physical and genetic mixing, natural selection, genetic drift and genetic shift. Throughout all phases of storage and regeneration protocols are established to prevent these events from occurring. During storage periodic germination tests are performed to monitor for decline. To ensure no loss of genetic variation occurs, causing a genetic shift, accessions are regenerated before viability substantially decreases. To prevent genetic mixing from outcrossing regeneration protocols take into account the pollination biology of the species being grown employing cages to prevent/contain insect or pollen movement or using minimum distances between growing accessions. Effective populations are established to preserve the allelic diversity found within each accession. Harvest methods are used to safeguard against unequal sampling which can cause genetic drift. Throughout the regeneration process acute attention is given to preventing physical mixing of seed between accessions.