Biodiversity conservation

September 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A landmark biodiversity conservation mission in Greece yielded nearly 1200 accessions from 212 species

Greece recently conducted its first international collaborative germplasm collection mission in three decades. The mission, covering 59 sites across nine provinces, yielded 1195 new acquisitions for the national genebank, representing 212 species from 51 genera.

Partners in the mission included the Department of Forestry and MNE, Greece; Agricultural Research Centre of Northern Greece; Greek GeneBank (GGB); ICARDA; and AgResearch New Zealand. Drs Mohamed Fawzy Nawar, Ali Shehadeh and Josephine Piggin from ICARDA’s Genetic Resources section joined the mission.

The aim was to document and conserve both wild and cultivated species, that could eventually provide novel genes for use in plant breeding programs for food and forage crops. Greece is particularly rich in clover (Trifolium), with nearly 100 native species. Perennial clovers are valuable elements of natural pastures, and could contribute significantly to livestock production systems. The mission targeted wild legumes (Trifolium and Medicago); cultivated cereals and their wild relatives (grasses belonging to the Triticeae group); wild perennial grasses; and some dicotyledon species of particular interest, including grasses (Lolium, Dactylis, Phleum, Festucai), plantains (Plantago) and chickory (Cichorium).

The next step will be to characterize the material collected, using phenotypic and molecular evaluation, to better understand adaptive traits and identify traits of interest.

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