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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 41 No. 3, p. 886-892
    Received: Oct 12, 1999

    * Corresponding author(s): sgreene@tricity.wsu.edu
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The Case for Multiple-Use Plant Germplasm Collections and a Strategy for Implementation

  1. S.L. Greene *a and
  2. J.B. Morrisb
  1. a USDA-ARS National Temperate Forage Legume Germplasm Resources Unit, Prosser, WA 99350-9687
    b USDA-ARS Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit, Griffin, GA 30223-1797


Germplasm collections are viewed as a source of genetic diversity to support crop improvement and botanical research, as well as support conservation efforts. The United States Department of Agriculture's National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) is responsible for managing plant genetic resources in the USA. Despite patterns of use that indicate that gene source and wild species are requested as frequently as cultivated species in NPGS collections that are taxonomically diverse, the contents of most NPGS collections continue to reflect the historic objectives of plant introduction. Narrow germplasm collections are restricted in their ability to meet the needs of diverse users and have limited function conserving plant biodiversity. This article outlines a model that can be used to diversify germplasm collections so they effectively serve users and contribute to conservation, yet remain a size that ensures effective maintenance of accessions. The model is developed by first carefully defining the overall scope of the collection. A taxonomically broad collection that falls within the scope is then defined with relatively few accessions. However, accession representation is increased for characters or species that are of specific interest to users, or that require protection. Accession representation in areas of interest would be dynamic, reflecting the changing needs of users and conservation. A diverse group of stakeholders is charged with the task of working together to establish priorities that can be used to guide the development of a multiple-use collection that contains a manageable number of accessions.

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Copyright © 2001. Crop Science Society of AmericaPublished in Crop Sci.41:886–892.