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Managing germplasm

Our goal: Collect, conserve and distribute the world’s vegetable germplasm, identify genes for valuable traits, and incorporate these into improved lines using classical breeding and molecular techniques

The AVRDC Genebank maintains the world’s largest public vegetable germplasm collection with more than 60,899 accessions from 156 countries, including about 12,000 accessions of indigenous vegetables. Collecting and conservation work is done in collaboration with national partners who maintain duplicate collections.

Molecular characterization and genetic diversity analysis of selected germplasm collections is done to identify markers and map genes linked to important agronomic traits such as disease resistance, stress tolerance, or high nutritional value. This significantly enhances the efficiency of breeding programs as key genes can be identified for introgression into improved lines.

What we do

  • Conserve and distribute vegetable germplasm to improve crops
  • Identify superior sources of genes for important horticultural traits
  • Characterize the Center’s germplasm to make better use of its diversity
  • Develop DNA markers for improved traits for marker-assisted selection
  • Use molecular technologies to isolate and validate genes affecting important traits
  • Share the benefits of the Center’s germplasm collections
  • Train partners in germplasm conservation, use, and gene discovery

AVGRIS

The AVRDC Vegetable Genetic Resources Information System (AVGRIS) contains data on all the accessions held by the Center. AVGRIS is used by our staff to manage the collection, and by our partners to assess and order materials for their breeding programs. The Center uses standard Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) for sharing genetic material and provides training to partners in the conservation and evaluation of vegetable genetic resources.

Information on germplasm includes:

  • Passport: The accession number and data recorded when the sample was originally collected (crop accession number, genus, species, altitude, collecting location, etc.). These data were received from the seed donor together with the germplasm.
  • Characterization: The morphological and agronomic descriptions of an accession (hypocotyl color, corolla color, plant growth habit, fruit size, seed color, etc.). These data were observed and gathered at AVRDC’s experimental fields by staff in the Genetic Resources and Seed Unit or by national partners.
  • Evaluation: The data results of screening accessions for their resistance to different pests (i.e. melon fly, cotton aphid, etc.) and diseases (Bhendi yellow vein mosaic virus, Tobacco mosaic virus, etc.). It also includes nutritive value (vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidant activity, etc). The Center’s scientists and colleagues at other research institutes conduct the screening.

Since its founding, the Center has distributed more than 600,000 seed samples to researchers in the public and private sectors in at least 180 countries. This has led to the release of hundreds of varieties throughout the world, especially in developing countries.

The AVRDC genebank is part of the System-wide Information Network for Genetic Resources (SINGER) — an information exchange network of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).