GENEBANKS AND THEIR FUTURE ROLE IN CROP IMPROVEMENT

The traditional roles of genebanks and breeders in crop improvement programs have been strongly breeder-oriented in commodity collections curated by breeders. Genebanks housing a diversity of crop species have generally been curatorially oriented with little support or effort in plant development programs. With the recognition of the importance of genebanks in conserving valuable genetic resources, the demand for more than just curation of the materials has increased to include the assessment of the material for the user community. Relocation of the National Small Grains Collection from Beltsville to Aberdeen, Idaho, has placed the collection with scientists taking selected material from raw germplasm to enhanced germplasm which can be used by breeders nationwide. This is a new model for the potential of genebanks where extensive evaluation and enhancement activities are taking place and the germplasm released to public and private breeders. Where a weakness in the total public breeding program effort has reduced the number of scientists transferring genes from wild and weedy relatives into usable genetic material, this may offer an opportunity to renew this aspect of the breeding continuum. As molecular technologies enable scientists to have a clearer understanding of the diversity pools from which the raw germplasm has been derived, there is opportunity to build genepools for heterotic diversity to be instrumental in increasing crop productivity. Much of this work could be incorporated into the evaluation and enhancement programs located at the genebanks of the National Plant Germplasm System.


Issue Date:
Jul 29 1990
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
Language:
English
Total Pages:
7




 Record created 2017-07-11, last modified 2017-08-29

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