The ICRISAT Genebank established in 1979 at Patancheru, India serves as a world repository for the collection of germplasm of the 11 crops: sorghum, pearl millet, chickpea, pigeonpea, groundnut, finger millet, foxtail millet, little millet, kodo millet, proso millet and barnyard millet. With 129,415 germplasm accessions assembled from 144 countries through donations and collection missions, it is one of the largest international genebanks. Several landraces now conserved in the ICRISAT genebanks have disappeared from their natural habitats in Africa and Asia. The collection serves both as insurance against genetic erosion and a source of tolerance to diseases and pests, environmental stresses, higher nutritional quality and traits related to yield for crop improvement.

ICRISAT established regional genebanks at Niamey, Bulawayo and Nairobi to facilitate easy access of regional and global diversity to NARS partners in the region. Together the three regional genebanks conserve 43,353 accessions of mandate crops. Currently Bulawayo and Niamey Genebanks are active distribution hubs.

Majority of the collection have been placed in-trust with the FAO of the United Nations and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) for use by the global community as an International Public Good (IPG). Most of the collection is seed-producing and essentially orthodox in nature. Seed conservation has vital role in the preservation of genetic variability as it is easy to maintain and cost-effective. The conserved germplasm has been characterized for important morpho-agronomic characteristics.

The active collection of germplasm stored at 4°C and <30% RH, is a basic source for distribution and utilization. The base collection is maintained at -20°C in vacuum-packed laminated 4-layer aluminium foil pouches at 3-7% seed moisture content. Base collections ensure the long-term viability of material (more than 50 years) as a security to the active collection. In addition, ICRISAT Genebank has deposited over 117,700 accessions at Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV), Norway as safety backup. The SGSV provides insurance against the loss of seeds in genebanks, as well as a refuge for seeds in the case of any large-scale regional or global crisis.

Germplasm conserved at ICRISAT genebank has become an important source of diversity available to researchers in both public and private sectors throughout the world. Between the years 1975 and 2022 (May), ICRISAT genebank has distributed over 1,566,950 seed samples to researchers in 150 countries including researchers within ICRISAT. The collections held at the genebank also serve the purpose for restoration of germplasm to the source countries when national collections are lost due to natural calamities, civil strife, etc. ICRISAT genebank has restored over 55,000 accessions to nine national programs in Asia and Africa. ICRISAT genebank has promoted evaluation and release of germplasm as varieties and 104 accessions released as 137 superior varieties in 51 countries. In addition, 1019 varieties were released in 81 countries utilizing germplasm and breeding lines from ICRISAT, thus contributing to food security.

Dr. Kuldeep Singh

Dr. Kuldeep Singh

Head, Genebank (Consultant)
Dr. Mani Vetriventhan

Dr. Mani Vetriventhan

Sr. Scientist (Genetic Resources)
Ramachandran Senthil

Mr. Senthil Ramachandran

Manager (Germplasm Conservation)
Peerzada Ovais

Dr. Ovais H Peerzada

Manager (Seed Laboratory)
Muzamil Baig

Mr. Muzamil Baig

Manager (Quality)

Mandate crops

Sorghum

42788

Pearl millet

24390

Chickpea

20764

Pigeonpea

13787

Groundnut

15889

Small millets

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