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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 969: VI International Symposium on Edible Alliaceae

THE GENUS ALLIUM IN THE GATERSLEBEN PLANT COLLECTIONS PROGRESS IN GERMPLASM PRESERVATION, CHARACTERIZATION AND PHYLOGENETIC ANALYSIS

Authors:   E.R.J. Keller, F.R. Blattner, R. Fritsch, K. Pistrick, A. Senula, C.D. Zanke
Keywords:   genebank, taxonomical research collection, in vitro storage, cryopreservation, morphological descriptors, molecular markers, electronic databases
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2012.969.36
Abstract:
Allium, including onion, garlic and leek, consists of about 850 species, many of which are recently used or potentially usable. A taxonomic project running at Gatersleben for already more than 30 years elucidated infrageneric relationships and led to the establishment of new systematic treatments. More than 40 collecting missions together with material exchange resulted in a large living collection of 3354 accessions. A considerable proportion of vegetatively propagated material from collecting missions makes this collection very valuable. Field and pot culture is performed for vegetatively maintained material and for seed production. To counteract the vulnerability of field and pot collections, laboratory methods were developed, beginning with slow growth culture on artificial media. Meristem culture was used to clean material from viruses. In vitro storage was found to be possible, but longer storage caused increasing weakness of plantlets and endophytic accumulation. Cryopreservation turned out to be the better alternative resulting in increasing numbers of stored accessions, at present amounting to 84 accessions. Explants from bulbs, bulbils, young inflorescence bases and in vitro cultures are cryopreserved. In garlic, average regeneration of 40% was attained. The method is extended to other taxa such as hybrids and wild species like Allium obliquum. Furthermore, pollen storage was initiated enabling preservation of broader populations of material. Based on the living collections and field studies a herbarium of about 8050 Allium specimens and about 10,000 voucher photographs were assembled. Intensive analyses of general morphology, seed testa structure, flower, scape, root and leaf anatomy, and phenological, biochemical and karyological studies were performed. Along with the development of molecular methods, isoenzyme, RFLP, RAPD, AFLP, and sequence-based analyses resulted in a revised taxonomic classification. The genus Allium proved to be monophyletic and consists of three major evolutionary lineages. Fifteen subgenera are accepted and 79 sections are circumscribed.

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