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BAG. Journal of basic and applied genetics

On-line version ISSN 1852-6233


CAMADRO, E.L  and  RIMIERI, P. Ex situ plant germplasm conservation revised at the light of mechanisms and methods of genetics. BAG, J. basic appl. genet. [online]. 2021, vol.32, n.1, pp.11-24. ISSN 1852-6233.

Plant genetic resources for food and agriculture are ex situ conserved in germplasm banks as samples (accessions) of natural or naturalized populations, either as the originally sampled propagules (mainly seeds) or their multiplications. The premises underlying ex situ conservation are that (a) it is the safest and cheapest alternative for germplasm preservation for future generations and (b) accessions are representative of the genetic diversity encountered in nature. In the past decades, ideas, alternatives and considerations have been put forward on the topic, and protocols have been devised for plant germplasm sampling, conservation and multiplication. However, limitations in the management efficiency of germplasm banks have been pointed out by international organizations. In our opinion, germplasm banks in general need to revise their functioning and management at the light of principles and methods of Genetics. To that end, it is necessary to consider the reproductive biology of higher plants -whose genetic consequences at both the individual plant and the population levels are not always either fully understood or taken into account in devising the protocols-, the genetic structures of wild and cultivated populations, and the course of the genetic material in the populations. In this paper, we discuss the three topics and provide an example of a national forage breeding program, from germplasm bank accessions as the germplasm of origin to the obtainment of commercial cultivars. Finally, we present a proposal as a base for discussion among curators, researchers and breeders.

Keywords : Accessions; Breeding; Genetic resources; Germplasm banks; Population genetics.

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