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Development of best practices for ex situ conservation of radish germplasm in the context of the crop genebank knowledge base


Information about crop-specific best practices for ex situ conservation of plant genetic resources has been difficult to find until recently. The CGIAR, together with national and regional partners, started to fill that gap by publishing best practices on the crop genebank knowledge base (CGKB -, a website specifically developed and officially launched in 2010 to provide easy access to knowledge about all aspects of ex situ conservation of specific crops to genebank managers and ex situ conservation researchers. A collaborative study, undertaken by Bioversity International with eight national and international genebanks, utilized the framework provided by the CGKB to develop and publish radish conservation best practices. This paper focuses on two aspects of this study: (1) Differences in procedures and practices in radish conservation currently applied in five key genebank activities, namely, acquisition of germplasm, viability testing and monitoring, seed drying, seed storage, and regeneration. While in a few cases genebanks agreed on a specific best practice to recommend, in others it was not desirable to identify one practice as superior to another, therefore a range of existing practices is described as a variety of equivalent options. The results highlight the importance of proactive genebank management aimed at meeting the standards within the specific context in which a genebank operates. (2) The framework and template provided by the CGKB in guiding the development of genebank best practices, and the CGKB as an excellent resource to widely and freely share best practices with the global community to support the effective management of crop genebanks.

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We wish to thank CAAS for the financial support of Qiu Yang’s secondment as visiting research fellow for 3 months to Bioversity International, during which the main compilation work was carried out. We also thank Bioversity International for providing the resources to coordinate the whole process of compilation, development and publication of these best practices.

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Correspondence to I. Thormann.

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Third to eleventh author are in alphabetical order.

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Thormann, I., Yang, Q., Allender, C. et al. Development of best practices for ex situ conservation of radish germplasm in the context of the crop genebank knowledge base. Genet Resour Crop Evol 60, 1251–1262 (2013).

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  • Genetic resources
  • Radish
  • Raphanus
  • Ex situ conservation
  • Crop genebank knowledge base
  • Best practices for conservation