Distribution of banana genetic resources

Contributors to this page: Bioversity International, Belgium (Ines Van den Houwe); Bioversity International, France (Nicolas Roux); IIITA, Nigeria (Dominique Dumet, Badara Gueye); CIRAD, France (Jean-Pierre Horry).



Banana users (Photo: IITA)



Banana users (Photo: IITA)

An important role of in vitro genebanks is the distribution of germplasm to different users.

Click here to open a PDF document that shows how to disseminate general germplasm in detailed steps.

Policies and regulations
User related issues for distribution
Procedures for distribution
Recording information during distribution

Policies and regulations

Common policies on distribution and access to plant material

For germplasm of crops listed in Annex 1 (click here for details), including cultivated Musa that will be used for breeding, research and training for agriculture, the Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA) should be used for all distribution, both from CGIAR genebanks and from Contracting Parties.

1) If the material meets the health status requirements for distribution (i.e. it is virus indexed negative for all viruses). If an accession is not available for distribution because of its health status, the requester will be informed and a suitable alternative accession should be proposed, if available.

2) The removal of samples for distribution should not reduce the stocks to below the accepted level for conservation. If only a limited number of replicates of the accessions is present in storage, the accession should be immediately reproduced and the requester will be informed that the request cannot be immediately or fully met.

An order form should be sent to the requester with the agreed list of accessions and the relevant Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) should be attached to it. The applicant should be asked to complete the order form and to acknowledge acceptance (signature/shrink-wrap mode) of the terms and conditions of the applicable MTAs. The requester should be asked to indicate the type of plant material and number of samples (if not standard) he/she wishes to receive.

Policy exceptions

National laws and regulations

It is essential to follow the terms and conditions in the host country agreements:

International laws and regulations

The shipment of plant material should be sent with the Standard Material Transfer Agreement under the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Phytosanitary regulations

See the Safe Transfer of Germplasm (STOG) section in this website for seed health movement (this is essential to avoid spread of pests and diseases).

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User related issues for distribution

Feedback to users

Factors that can influence the delivery of plant materials:

Recommended procedures that ensure the material distributed matches the client request:

Feedback from users

The most relevant information required to be received from the users is as follows:

Quantity of material recommended to be distributed

It must be sufficient to cover the diversity in the accession and produce material for future use (users should have access to the full diversity within the accession and sufficient plant material to multiply in order to obtain a genetically similar sample for future use. The provision of small quantities maintains the stocks and reduces the multiplication frequency.

In order to meet users requirements, three types of material can be made available:

As a standard, five samples of living tissues (shoot tip cultures or rooted plants) should be provided per accession. For leaf tissue samples usually one packet containing 0.5 g tissue (fresh weight) should be supplied.

The applicant should be requested to give a short description of the intended research use of the requested material.

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Procedures for distribution

Availability check

Availability of stock

Checking passport data

Proliferation tissue for shipping
(photo: Bioversity)

Preparing vegetative materials for distribution

Proliferating shoot tip cultures

Before propagules are transferred to the transport vessels, they should be indexed for bacterial contamination.

In vitro rooted plantlets

Lyophilized leaf tissue

The required number of samples of each requested accession should be removed from the lyophilized leaf bank.

Dispatching of plant material

The plant material should be labelled with the accession ID and name. It should be packed in a cardboard box coated with shock absorbent plastic to avoid damage to the culture containers during transit. Inside the parcel the following documents should be enclosed:

The consignment should be shipped by Express Mail in order to keep the journey as short as possible and minimize the risk of deterioration of the plant material.

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Recording information during distribution

System for tracking material/inventory system for distribution

References and further reading

Tenkouano A, Swennen R. 2004. Progress in breeding and delivering improved plantain and banana to African farmers. Chronica Horticulturae 44(1):9-15.

Van den Houwe I, Jones DR. 1994. Musa germplasm distribution from the INIBAP Transit Center. Meeting: First Global Conference of the International Musa Testing Program, La Lima (HND), 27-30 April 1994. Publisher: INIBAP, Montpellier (France). Available here.

Van den Houwe I, Panis B. 2000. In vitro conservation of banana: medium term storage and prospects for cryopreservation. In: Razdan MK, Cocking E, editors. Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources in vitro. Vol. 2. M/S Science Publishers, USA. pp. 225-257.

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The Genebanks

The 11 CGIAR genebanks currently conserve 730,000 of cereals and grain legumes, forage crops, tree species, root and tuber crops, bananas and crop wild relatives.