Genebanks conserve living plant samples of the world’s important crops and their wild relatives. They ensure that the genetic resources that underpin our food supply are both secure in the long term for future generations and available in the short term for use by farmers, plant breeders, and researchers. These collections are important to ensure that crop plants which may contain genes to resist disease, provide enhanced nutrition, or survive in changing or harsh environments do not become endangered or extinct over time. The genebank at the International Potato Center (CIP) in Lima, Peru maintains clonal and seed collections of potato, sweetpotato, and Andean roots and tubers (ARTC’s). The genebank is maintained as a global public good under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). CIP’s germplasm is available for requestors for research, education, and breeding purposes. This germplasm has been used in breeding programs in over 100 countries. CIP is the custodian of the world’s largest in vitro genebank and is the first to obtain International Standards Organization (ISO) accreditation, which regulates the processes for safe and secure germplasm movement. Further, it houses one of the world’s leading herbarium collections and cryopreservation program.
Fanny Vargas and how to read a herbarium’s hidden stories