Conserving

Once crop wild relatives have been collected, conserving them properly in ex situ collections is essential to ensure their continued availability for breeding and to safeguard their genetic diversity from extinction in the field. All crop wild relatives collected as part of this project will be conserved in the national collections of the country of origin, the Millennium Seed Bank, the applicable CGIAR international collection, and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

After collection, seed samples from the project are cleaned, dried and stored in the national genebank of the country from which they originated, while a portion of each sample is transferred to the Millennium Seed Bank for safety duplication storage and distribution to pre-breeding programs, additional genebanks, and made available to other users. Passport and availability data is updated on Genesys. During this process, germination protocols are generated (if they do not already exist) and are made publically available through Kew’s Seed Information Database.

Once safely conserved in genebanks, CWR seeds are stored long-term at -20° C where they can be used in breeding and shared with other genebanks through the regeneration and multiplication process. As of 2015, more than 100 new seed accessions of crop wild relatives have been added to international genebank collections, and the project aims to collect and introduce several thousand seed accessions to CWR holdings across the world.