Manual of seed handling in genebanks

Genebanks are the storehouses of plant genetic resources, providing the raw material for the improvement of crops. They play a key role in contributing to the sustainable development of agriculture, helping to increase food production and thus to overcome hunger and poverty. Inherent resistance to pests and diseases can be bred into crop plants, reducing the need to use chemicals that can have deleterious effects on farmers and the environment. The seeds contained in genebanks are a vital and irreplaceable resource, a heritage which must be conserved to provide future agricultural options in a world facing climate change and other unforeseen challenges. The sustainable conservation of genetic resources depends on effective actions by genebank staff, who play a critical role in ensuring that germplasm is effectively and efficiently conserved. They need to apply proper procedures for handling seeds to ensure their survival and availability to present and future generations.

The practical manual on Procedures for Handling Seed in Genebanks (Hanson, 1985), published by the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR), a predecessor of Bioversity International, has helped genebank curators and technicians in seed conservation in the past. Research over recent decades has yielded advances in knowledge regarding seed physiology and seed-storage behaviour. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1992, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA) in 2004 and related agreements have changed the global framework of germplasm ownership and benefit-sharing. The development of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and associated controversies have important implications for the ways genebanks manage their germplasm, notably to prevent the unintentional introgression of exotic genes, including transgenes. All of these new opportunities and challenges called for an update of the 1985 handbook for genebanks. This manual addresses these recent changes, and is intended to ensure that seed handling in genebanks meets today's requirements. The new manual is complemented by an interactive self-learning module, found on the CD ROM included in this package. The manual and self-learning module are intended to help address the challenges associated with the shortage and frequent turnover of qualified genebank staff, particularly in developing countries.

The manual is accompanied by a self learning module on CD-Rom, which is provided on the inside back cover of it.

The manual and its accompanying self-learning module provide detailed procedural guidelines and lessons for staff who do not have the opportunity to attend courses on seed conservation and genebank management. Using the manual and its module, genebank staff can learn on their own about the different tasks of the genebank and also have a quick reference to essential genebank procedures. With this publication we hope to contribute to ensuring that genebank staff around the world will maintain to high standards of survival and quality the germplasm under their care.

Bioversity International's Handbooks for Genebanks are intended to provide practical information to genebank curators and others working in genebanks. To facilitate their use their binding allows them to be kept open on a desk or bench, while the wide margins and 'Notes' pages provide space for readers to make notes or annotate the text.

Bioversity welcomes feedback from readers on the content and format of the handbook for possible future revisions.

Category: Training materials

Author: Rao, N.K.; Hanson, J.; Dulloo, M.E.; Ghosh, K.; Nowell, A.; larinde, M.

Corporate Author: Bioversity International, Rome (Italy)

Journal or series: Handbooks for Genebanks , 8

Pages: 147 p.

Publication Year: 2006

Publication Format: B5 + CD-Rom; PDF

ISBN-10: 92-9043-740-5

ISBN-13: 978-92-9043-740-6

Language: EN

Permalink of this publication