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Regional gene banks: cooperative programmes

Biological journal of the Linnean Society 1991 v.43 no.1 pp. 51-59
agricultural research, cultivars, gene banks, genes, genetic variation, horticultural crops, plant breeding, plant genetic resources, Angola, Botswana, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Norway, Scandinavia, Swaziland, Sweden, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe
A description is given of the Nordic Gene Bank for Agricultural and Horticultural Plants (NGB), its origins, its mandate, its organization, the scientific concepts it has adopted as a base for its activities and some of the work done during the first ten years. The new project in the South African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) countries to establish a regional gene bank is also outlined. In both cases the aims are the improvement of crop varieties through the use of local and international genetic resources materials. The mandate of the NGB covers preservation and documentation of the genetic variation of Nordic agricultural and horticultural plants as a service institution for plant breeding and other plant research. NGB is located at Alnarp, Sweden, and is governed by a Board consisting of two members from each of the five Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The SADCC Regional Gene Bank (SRGB) is a project of the governments of the SADCC member states: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The primary objective is to establish, over a 20-year period, a Regional Plant Genetic Resources Centre to preserve, evaluate and utilize through breeding the indigenous plant genetic resources material and natural crop heritage of the region. The project is a crucial component in implementing the broader 20-year regional programme of agricultural research, already agreed by the SADCC countries, to increase per capita agricultural output; this programme is expected to lead to a rapid improvement in cultivated plant varieties throughout the region. An essential element of the project is the training and education of plant genetic resources personnel.