Viability of radish genetic resources

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).

Viability testing
Routine monitoring

Viability testing

Seed viability is most critical for seed distribution and an important criteria for regeneration during seed storage in the genebank.

Type of test

Number of seeds and replicates





Duration of test


Documentation during viability testing

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 Routine monitoring

Routine monitoring methods are important to assure minimum quality (viability) and quantity of seeds in storage.

Monitoring frequency

Monitoring frequency of seed viability is adjusted to the genebank’s storage and use conditions of the active and base collection.

Critical quantity

Critical germination level

Recording information during routine monitoring

The following information should be recorded for each monitoring step:

References and further reading

Ellis RH, Hong TD, Roberts EH. 1985. Handbook of seed technology for genebanks. Volume 1. Principles and methodology. International Board for Plant Genetic Resources IBPGR, Rome, Italy.

FAO/IPGRI. 1994. Genebank standards. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome and International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome. Available in English, Spanish, French and Arabic.

ISTA. 2005. International Rules for Seed Testing. Edition 2005. International Seed Testing Association, Bassersdorf, Switzerland.

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).

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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.