UN guidebook sets standards for plant genebanks

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UN guidebook sets standards for plant genebanks

Spread across 1,750 facilities worldwide, global plant genebanks contain an estimated 7 million samples of the seeds, tissues and material that make up our food crops and their wild relatives.seeds_square

To improve the utility of these tools and their conservation potential, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has released a guidebook, Genebank Standard for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

The publication outlines voluntary, international standards for repositories and genebanks to guide users on the most recommendable technologies and procedures to collect and conserve samples.

Since the world's genebanks vary widely in size and resources, this guide seeks to balance global scientific objectives and work conditions.

"Their wide application also supports research that could stem the loss of biodiversity and boost sustainability in agriculture, both necessary conditions for feeding a world population that is expected to exceed 9 billion by the year 2050," FAO said of the guidelines.

"Well-managed genebanks help to preserve genetic diversity and make it available to breeders and other scientists, who can then use it to develop and share improved varieties, including those adapted to particular agro-ecological conditions."

The publication was organized by FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The commission has promoted international conservation standards for plant genetic material and for in vitro and cryopreservation of plant tissue.

Photo: www.shutterstock.com



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