Safety backup

As the CIP collections are irreplaceable, the adage of not wanting to put all your eggs in one basket is particularly true for these, and other, genetic resources collections. Therefore, the international standards for genebanks are to have collections duplicated (backed-up physically) in two geographically distinct locations from the active primary collection. One duplicate should be relatively easily available and hence housed nationally, while the second duplicate should be in another country to guarantee safe maintenance of the collection in the event of a catastrophic national disaster or unrest. The purpose of safety duplication is to maintain a copy of each accession in a form that is secure and 100% recoverable in the same condition and form as the active collection in case something were to cause a disruption of operation of the primary collection site.

The CIP collection is currently backed-up:

  1. The high plateau of Peru at a CIP research station in Huancayo, Peru, a 6-8 hour drive from Lima headquarters. Access to this back-up collection is controlled through security password protected doors and the room is equipped with video and temperature monitoring and alarms. The root crops are stored in one chamber at 20 ± 2°C, and the tuber crops are stored in a cold chamber at 7 ± 2°C. Sweetpotato needs to be replaced more frequently (12-18 months) than potato (24 months) so constant regeneration of these materials is required. The seed collection (crop wild relatives of potato, sweetpotato, maca and ahipa) are stored in two chambers at -20 ± 2°C.
  2. International back-up of the CIP collections (in addition to the Huancayo, Peru backup) are:
    1. Seed collections (crop wild relatives of potato, sweetpotato and maca and ahipa) are duplicated in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway.
    2. The in vitro potato collection is backed-up at the CENARGEN-EMBRAPA (Brasilia, Brazil)
    3. The in vitro sweetpotato collection is backed-up at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT in Cali, Colombia).
  3. In 2017, the CIP genebank anticipates having >25% of the CIP potato collection also backed-up in cryopreservation at an international location.
  4. CIP also provides backup for the in trust cassava collection as part of a reciprocal agreement with CIAT to ensure security of germplasm collections.


Gisella Carpio
Genebank Support Specialist


  • Genebank: In vitro conservation of potato
  • Genebank: In vitro conservation of sweetpotato

Please contact the supervisor/Genebank Leader to get more information.

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