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1. Introduction

There are approximately 250 million animal species in the world and most of them are insect species (Lee, 1998). Among these insects, honeybee and silkworm have been related closely with human. Especially, silkworm is one of the representative agricultural insects and it has contributed greatly to the cultural development of human beings, particularly by providing clothigs. Thus, the value of silkworm resources is under national protection, as it is considered as one of agriculture related resources according to genetic resources management rule.

Sericulture in Korea, which began in 1900, has been developed and supplied many silkworm strains. Sericulture once greatly contributed to national economy as a major export product. However, it has been declined partially because population in the rural areas has been reduced. Now, sericulture is on the new age. Development of silkworm powder for blood glucose lowering agent and mass production technology of Dongchoonghacho are parts of this trend.

Extension and conversion of traditional sericulture to a new era has been possible due to well-conserved silkworm genetic resources. Non-cocoon forming strain for mass production of Dongchoonghacho and large body-sized strain for making silkworm powder has devoted to the development of such a new demand for sericultural industry. Moreover, development and conservation of silkworm resources is essential because they will be used as raw materials for current and future science, such as biotechnology. After the Biodiversity Agreement in 1993, each country has established it's own genetic resources conservation policy. So, collection and import of genetic resources become difficult, and safe conservation and systematic management of these resources have been necessary. In this paper, conservation of silkworm genetic resources (321 strains classified to date), problems in conservation and management plan in the future are described briefly.

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