Wheat diversity on display, CIMMYT germplasm bank

Wheat samples for demonstration to visitors to the wheat active collection in the Wellhausen-Anderson Plant Genetic Resources Center at CIMMYT’s El Batán headquarters, Mexico. The CIMMYT germplasm bank contains around 140,000 unique samples of wheat seed and 28,000 of maize, including related species for both crops. The bank both conserves this diversity and makes it available as a resource for breeding. Wheat samples are stored in aluminum envelopes, packaged into boxes. This makes them “invisible” to visitors; staff use a sophisticated barcode system to keep track. However, a selection of wheat samples are kept in jars for demonstration purposes, showing the diversity of the bank’s accessions from wild relatives to modern varieties. The active collection for meeting requests is kept at -3 °C, while the duplicate base collection for long-term storage is at -18 °C. “Disaster proof” features of the bank include thick concrete walls and back-up power systems.

Photo credit: Xochiquetzal Fonseca/CIMMYT.

For more about the bank see:

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