Contributors to this page: CAAS, China (Qiu Yang, Li Xixiang); Bioversity International, Italy (Imke Thormann, Ehsan Dulloo); CGN, Netherlands (Noortje Bas); IPK, Germany (Andreas Börner, Ulrike Lohwasser); AVRDC, Taiwan (Andreas Ebert); USDA, USA (Larry Robertson); NBPGR, India (Chitra Pandey); SASA, UK (George Campbell); University of Warwick, UK (Charlotte Allender).
Verifying accompanying documentation
Appropriate documentation is essential to track germplasm. Health and IPR certificates are very important. The following documents should accompany each consignment of plant germplasm depending on the donating country:
- Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA);
- Additional clauses to the SMTA, if relevant;
- Germplasm Acquisition Agreement (GAA), if not accompanied by SMTA;
- Phytosanitary certificate;
- Import permit, if required;
- GMO free certificate, if issued by donor/provider;
- If no GMO free certificate is provided with the material, an internal risk assessment can be carried out. The assessment is based on knowledge about the species and accession, and on personal judgment. If no risk is detected, the material is added to the collection, otherwise the material is discarded.
- List of the introduced materials and seed source;
- Passport data.
Verifying the consignment
Checking the content
- Check whether the packet is in good condition. If it is broken and the seeds from different accessions mixed, just discard them.
- Physically verificy all packets against the list accompanying the samples.
- If no list is provided or seeds do not correspond to the list, prepare a new list and send to donor/provider for any missing passport information.
Checking the genebank for duplicates
- To avoid conserving duplicates, check in the genebank database whether the sample is already conserved or not.
- If duplication cannot be ruled out, maintain the sample with collector numbers/other ID/ temporary numbers in medium term storage until genetic studies are carried out to verify effective duplication.
- If it is considered a duplicate, various options exist and are used in different genebanks,
- AVRDC: assign a separate seed lot under the original accession number.
- CGN: Don’t introduce the accession to the base collection, but either archive it (i.e. store without further processing at -20 ºC) or discard.
- NGB-NBPGR: Add it to the active collection for distribution to the user.
- USDA: When the source of accessions is checked and the new potential accession is from the original source and the existing accession is not, the original accession is inactivated and the new accession is added.
Checking the germplasm
- Verify the seed health by checking seeds for obvious signs of disease, insect infestation or damage during shipping (to avoid introduction of new pests and diseases and storing infected material).
- If seed health is not satisfactory, assign a temporary number and send the sample to a phytopathologist/entomologist for safe disinfection/disinfestation treatment without causing genetic variation and reducing seed viability.
- Treated seeds should not be conserved in base collection. They should be used for regeneration to obtain healthy seeds for storage in the long-term collection.
- If it is possible to acquire a replacement sample ask the donor to replace seed with freshly harvested material. Then discard the original sample by incineration and make a note of the action taken and reasons.
- Check the seeds’ characteristics such as color, size, and shape according to the accompanying descriptor data or photographic record and verify if seeds are pure or mixed.
- Verify the seed quality and quantity.
- Percentage germination should not be less than 80%, in the ideal case be 85% or above for cultivated species and 60% for wild species in the base collection.
- Germination percentage should be at least 70% for cultivated species and 50% for wild species in the active collection.
- Quantity in base collection should be sufficient to conduct at least three regeneration cycles. Genetic integrity should be maintained using as few cycles of regeneration as possible and all efforts should be made to minimize selection pressure that could lead to changes in the genetic make-up of the accession.
- If seed quality and/or quantity are not adequate, the sample should be regenerated immediately or scheduled for regeneration as soon as possible.
- Assign a unique accession number according to the genebank numbering system, if sample appears ‘original’ and sufficient seeds are available.
- If the accompanying data is incomplete or seeds are insufficient or of poor quality, assign a temporary number and inform the donor about the status of the received material; or register the inadequate status of the sample with the permanent number, if no temporary numbers are used
- Write the accession number clearly on each packet and on the list of the new samples.
- For each accession, record and enter all passport and original identification data and date of registration (plus any other information if provided) in the genebank database to have complete information on the accessions.
Recording information during registration
The following information should be recorded for each consignment:
- The donor of the seed sample and the donor number
- Seed origin (country, location, year, season, soil type, plot number etc.)
- Accession number
- Accession name, pedigree, population type
- Collector’s name and number, collecting institute
- Storage location (row, column, level, box, sample)
- Nomenclature by genus, species (taxonomic nomenclature)
- Sample character
- Other information such as trait specific characters, indigenous and traditional knowledge
References and further reading
IBPGR. 1990. Descriptors for Brassica and Raphanus. International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, Rome, Italy. Published in association with the Commission of the European Communities. ISBN 92-9043-184-9. Available here (1.5 MB).
Rao NK, Hanson J, Dulloo ME, Ghosh K, Nowel D, Larinde M. 2006. Manual of seed handling in genebanks. Handbooks for Genebanks No. 8. Bioversity International, Rome, Italy. Available in English (1.5 MB), Spanish (1.4 MB) and French (1.9 MB).
Tunwar NS, Singh SV. 1988. Indian Minimum Seed Certification Standards CSCB Dept of Agril & Coop Min of Agril GOI, New Delhi pp 388.
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