International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture


A long-term strategy for hard-to-conserve PGRFA collections in a post-COVID world

With the sponsorship of the Government of Belgium

Cryopreservation, storage in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196°C, is becoming an invaluable tool for the long-term conservation of plant genetic resources collections. Cryopreserved plant materials can theoretically remain alive for centuries, after which they can be removed from the frozen conditions and regenerated into healthy, growing plants. Cryopreservation is, thus, seen as an ideal long-term strategy for conserving germplasm of species with recalcitrant seeds, plants which do not produce seeds at all, and/or crops where preservation of the unique genetic makeup needs to be maintained as a clone. In 2017, an independent Expert Group documented the advantages of cryopreservation for conserving collections of these plants and recommended a major global effort to facilitate its wide-scale implementation. Today, cryopreservation has been highlighted under COVID-19 restrictions as an effective measure for the secure conservation and safety duplication of PGRFA collections held in field and tissue culture.

In this international panel, the Secretariat of the International Treaty for PGRFA and the Global Crop Diversity Trust have called on global experts to present the current status of cryopreservation work at national and regional levels as well as in CGIAR centres, and examine the challenges and benefits of the technology. Experts will also discuss the opportunity of developing and sustaining a global initiative for cryopreservation, in the framework of the International Treaty.

Please click here to view the full programme.

Please click here for the full recording (Password: PGRFA621+)

Previous panels

The Secretariat of the International Treaty on PGRFA and the Global Crop Diversity Trust have joined forces to organize a series of international online panels to bring together key actors of the conservation and use of plant genetic resources. The first international panel in September 2020 reflected on the impacts of the COVID pandemic on plant genetic resources programs. The second panel in February 2021 discussed the management of fruit and vegetable genetic diversity and highlighted opportunities for cooperation, in particular in the context of the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables.

For any questions, please contact: [email protected]



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