Germplasm Assembly

Germplasm assembly

With 129,091 germplasm accessions assembled from 144 countries through donations and collection missions, the ICRISAT genebank is one of the largest international genebanks. Major donors to the collection are the national programs in Ethiopia, France, India, Iran, Italy, Lebanon, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Syria, United Kingdom and the United States; organizations; individual research workers; and generous farmers of many nations. Also, ICRISAT scientists conducted over 200 collection expeditions to collect several landraces on the verge of extinction, braving difficult terrain, hostile environments, and harsh conditions. The collection provides both insurance against genetic erosion and a source of tolerance to diseases and pests, climatic and other environmental stresses, improved grain quality and yield traits for crop improvement. Several landraces now conserved in the ICRISAT genebank have disappeared from their natural habitats in Africa and Asia. Examples are the Hegari, Zerazera, and Kurgis landraces of sorghum once present in the Gezira, Kasala and Blue Nile provinces of Sudan.

Collecting germplasm also provided rich opportunities for cooperation between ICRISAT and national programs. Collection is always done jointly with national/international organizations. The samples are initially characterized and regenerated in the source country and germplasm is assembled under Material Acquisition Agreements. All exotic germplasm that finds its way into the ICRISAT genebank at Patancheru, India is examined by the Indian national plant quarantine system before it is released.

We have introduced more than 91,000 samples from 317 organizations located in 78 countries and launched 216 germplasm collection missions in 62 countries to collect more than 33,000 samples of six mandate crops and five small millets. The National Research programs in most countries, Agricultural Universities, Regional Research Organizations and the International Agricultural Research Centers are engaged in developing crop cultivars/elite breeding lines. These collected lines are also conserved in ICRISAT genebank for future utilization.

Based on the gap analysis work and local reports our regional genebank scientists in collaboration with NARS partners in Africa collected 1,416 germplasm samples representing groundnut, pearl millet, pigeonpea, and sorghum from Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Uganda. The global genebank also added 898 accessions of unique germplasm representing finger millet, pearl millet and sorghum.

Under Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT) supported, we assembled 4,013 accessions of unique germplasm from NARS in Africa (3,091) Asia (527), Europe (191) and North America (204). The genebank at Patancheru continue assembling unique germplasm from other institutions and from the regional genebanks in Africa.

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