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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1339: IX International Scientific and Practical Conference on Biotechnology as an Instrument for Plant Biodiversity Conservation (physiological, biochemical, embryological, genetic and legal aspects)

Biotechnological applications for plant germplasm conservation at ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, India – recent achievements

Authors:   A. Agrawal, N. Sharma, S. Gupta, S. Bansal, V. Srivastava, E.V. Malhotra, S. Chander, R. Gowthami, K. Singh
Keywords:   cryogenebank, biotechnology, conservation, in vitro genebank, Indian PGR
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2022.1339.5
In India, NBPGR is a leading institute under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), that undertakes the management of plant genetic resources (PGR) including exploration, collecting, exchange, quarantine, characterization, evaluation, conservation, documentation, and distribution. For germplasm conservation, an integrated genebank system comprising field, seed, in vitro, and cryogenebanks has been developed since the 1980s, which presently has ~0.46 million accessions of agri-horticultural crop diversity. In 1986, the use of biotechnology for the conservation of PGR was initiated in the Tissue Culture and Cryopreservation Unit (TCCU) at ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi, to conserve economic plants through in vitro and cryopreservation techniques, for which conventional methods of storage are unsuccessful or inadequate. The research programs primarily aim at the development of micropropagation, in vitro conservation, and cryopreservation protocols. The genetic integrity of the germplasm conserved is also researched upon. Capacity building on in vitro and cryopreservation techniques for germplasm management is an important activity, through national and international training programs. Currently, 1,927 accessions of mandated crops are maintained in vitro, in the form of ~38,300 cultures and/or in vitro cryopreserved meristems/shoot tips in the In Vitro Active/Base Genebank. These accessions comprise horticultural crops like fruit, tuber, bulb, spices, plantation, industrial crops, medicinal, aromatic, and rare/endangered plants. For seeded species, 12,076 accessions are conserved as seeds, embryos, embryonic axes, budwood, or pollen in the cryogenebank. In addition, 2,194 genomic resources are also cryostored. In this paper we highlight recent research progress of new in vitro conservation and cryopreservation protocols developed, especially of less-researched species of Indian importance.

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