International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

Genetic Resources Program

CIAT’s Genetic Resources Program conserves large collections of beans and tropical forages as seed and whole plants, and cassava in vitro and as small plants.

Ericson Aranzales Rondon, Coordinator of In vitro Conservation Laboratory at CIAT overlooks cassava plants at a greenhouse in the CIAT facility in Palmira, Colombia. Photo Credit: Getty Images Reportage photographer Juan Arredondo
Process of counting seeds before packaging in the CIAT genebank. <br/>Credit: Shawn Landersz
Process of counting seeds before packaging in the CIAT genebank. Credit: Shawn Landersz

Regeneration of beans and forages is undertaken by a specialised production group that makes use of advanced facilities to produce suitable quantities of high-quality seed that maintains the genetic integrity of the original accession.

The Genetic Resources Program is collaborating with researchers in the CGIAR HarvestPlus program to select bean varieties that offer increased iron for better nutrition. It is also working to find tolerance to cassava brown streak virus and with the Livestock-Plus program of CGIAR to improve Brachiaria as a fodder plant.

The Germplasm Health Unit has a staff of nine. For beans and forages, the GHU examines seed for the presence of pathogens and pests, while for cassava, samples of which are generally produced in vitro, the focus is on virus indexing.

Useful information

Genebank Manager: Peter Wenzl, Genetic Resources Program Leader
Head of Germplasm Health Unit: Maritza Cuervo Ibáñez
Key staff: Luis G. Santos, Coordinator of seed conservation; Ericson Aranzales, Coordinator of tissue culture.




External links

Searchable bean database
Searchable cassava database
Searchable forage database
Search Genesys for accessions at CIAT

Status of CIAT genebank according to performance targets

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Accessions 67,770
Availability 71%
Safety duplication 76%
Passport Data Completeness Index (Average) 4.51

CIAT Genetic Resources Program by the numbers:

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Full-time staff equivalents 78
Date to reach performance targets 2019
Projected accession numbers in 2022 beans 28,500; forages 23,340; cassava 6,948
Minimum elements of QMS in place by end 2016