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Plant genetic resources conservation and use in light of recent policy developments

Author(s): K.S. Varaprasad and N. Sivaraj

Journal: Electronic Journal of Plant Breeding
ISSN 0975-928X

Volume: 1;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 1276;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Plant Genetic resources | conservation | documentation | utilization | global treaties

Plant genetic resources constitute our invaluable assets to meet the growing needs to increase crop production andproductivity. Plant genetic resources constitute a unique global heritage and their conservation and utilization is ofimmediate concern. Over six million accessions of crop germplasm are currently being conserved worldwide in gene banks.Despite its overall advantage and promotion by the international community, in-situ conservation is still inadequate.Various international conventions have addressed the topic of genetic erosion and declining use of agrobiodiversity inmodern agriculture. Concern about the future vulnerability of agricultural production, food security and environmentalstability has moved the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources to the top of the internationaldevelopment agenda. Implications and impact of global conventions/ treaties/ agreements such as Convention on BiologicalDiversity, Trade related intellectual property rights and Sanitary and phytosanitary agreements under WTO, Internationalplant protection convention, Global plan of action, International treaty on plant genetic resources for food and agricultureConvention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora, Intergovernmental Committee onIntellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (ICGTK) was set up in 2001, Internationalunion for protection of plant varieties, Global crop diversity trust and Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety on plant geneticresource activities are discussed. The changing national scenario in light of the above global developments particularly theprovisions under Biological diversity Act and Protection of plant varieties and farmers’ rights act are discussed.The status of PGR conservation, documentation and utilization at global and national level is briefly discussed. Measures topromote PGR utilization including core development, prebreeding, gene prospecting, allele mining, public privatepartnerships and safe transboundary movement are discussed. Major issues and future thrust areas in the field of plant geneticresources are listed.

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