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Genebank Standards for Plant Genetic Resources -- a major accomplishment

International standards aimed at conserving plant diversity in genebanks

Photo: ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano
Genebanks standards adoption a major accomplishment

19 April 2013, Rome - New international standards to help genebanks worldwide  conserve plant diversity in a more efficient and cost-effective manner were adopted on Thursday April 18 by FAO's  Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Meeting at its 14th Regular Session here, the Commission endorsed  the Genebank Standards for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Brad Fraleigh, Chairman of of the meeting, welcomed the Genebank Standards as "a major accomplishment" for the current and future preservation of plant diversity for food and nutrition security. "These standards will be extremely valuable for opening funding opportunities for genebanks as well as increasing use of these valuable resources," he said.

Pioneering efforts

Clayton Campanhola, Director of FAO's Plant Production and Protection Division, appreciated the pioneering efforts of experts from national programmes and other international and regional organizations in preparation of these standards.

The Genebank Standards are voluntary but have a universal value and utility in guiding genebank management for seeds, for germplasm maintained in field collections, as well as conserved through cryopreservation and in vitro culture. They were developed in response to the new technical advances and the increased coverage of plant diversity collections. A systematic application of these standards will require mobilization of financial resources for upgrading professional skills in developing countries.

The Genebank Standards will be available in all UN official languages.