Germplasm Collection

The more diversity is conserved and made available for future use, the better the chances of meeting tomorrow’s needs. Although the great number of plant species present on Albanian territory, for genebank and a collecting mission, there are clearly some species and geographical regions that have priority. There are several reasons that justify a collecting mission: some species are in danger of extinction or genetic erosion, several users have expressed a need at the national level for conservation of local varieties, and the diversity is missing from existing ex situ collections.

Eco-geographic data are generally seen as an essential first step in the development of a comprehensive strategy for the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources. This kind of analysis will help to explore such key issues as:

  • when, where and how to collect germplasm;
  • how threatened is the germplasm;
  • where genetic reserves might best be placed and how they would need to be monitored and managed; and
  • which is the relative contribution of ex situ and in situ approaches to an overall conservation strategy.

Data collection: Before starting the collection of field data, genebank recommend and help collecting missions on preparation of a clear list of descriptors for passport data. To standardize passport data, morphological characterization and evaluation, international recommended standards as multi-crop passport descriptors are applied in Albanian genebank. These standards make the resulting information comparable across germplasm samples.

Germplasm acquisition

Germplasm acquisition involves obtaining genetic material of a species mandated for conservation in a genebank. It is the initial step in conservation of genetic resources. The main reason for acquiring germplasm is to ensure that sufficient diversity is available to meet current and future needs. Reasons for acquisition include: genetic erosion, gaps-filling, need-based acquisition when germplasm is needed for breeding, and opportunistic acquisition for an unplanned and fortuitous genetic material.

Germplasm acquisition policy: Genebank has clear policies on acquisition so that the volume of material acquired is within the limits of genebank management capacity. When storage space to maintain collections is limited, germplasm is acquired based on priority.

Prioritization: Acquisition of germplasm is based on its value or perceived threat of extinction. Value is assessed as the usefulness of traits and adaptation to unique environments. Landraces, primitive cultivars and wild species has receive high priority for acquisition, followed by genetic stocks, elite breeding material and obsolete and modern varieties. For wild species genebank takes in considerate the availability of resources for management before acquiring wild taxa.

Germplasm registration

Registration is the assignment of a unique identification number called an accession number for tracking each seed sample received by genebank as accession, in order to distinguish it from other samples. Registration allows genebank curators to keep accurate records of samples and to produce inventory lists for conservation, distribution, and other aspects of germplasm management. For efficient management and use of the collections, genebank register the samples only if they meet the conditions described below.

Acquisition agreements and permits: The samples have been acquired from collectors, genebanks or other sources with appropriate material acquisition or transfer agreements and permits in line with national and international regulations regarding conservation, distribution and use of plant genetic resources.

Passport information: To be accepted in genebank, samples should be accompanied by adequate passport information, especially cultivar name, collector number, genus and species,  location of collecting site, country of origin, collecting date, phenology, collecting source and pedigree (for genetic stocks and improved material).