Gene bank

  • gene bank
  • Storehouses of seeds or vegetative tissue, kept in low humidity and temperature, to help maintain genetic diversity. Sometimes known as seed banks or germ plasm banks. their contents mostly originate from a wide range of primitive strains and wild crop varieties. The International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR), which was established in 1974, promotes the collection, documentation, evaluation, conservation and eventual use of genetic resources of significant plant species. Gene banks are the subject of international controversy because they contain seeds that have mostly been acquired from the developing countries by the industrially rich countries, where they have been used in breeding programmes to develop new strains. Instead of taking decades over a traditional plant breeding programme by fertilization, it is now possible to manipulate directly the genes of plants, creating genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which are plants modified to give a higher resistance to disease and improved growth and yields and, therefore, increase the profit of the plant breeder and farmer.
Abstract from DBPedia
    Gene banks are a type of biorepository that preserves genetic material. For plants, this is done by in vitro storage, freezing cuttings from the plant, or stocking the seeds (e.g. in a seedbank). For animals, this is done by the freezing of sperm and eggs in zoological freezers until further need. With corals, fragments are taken and stored in water tanks under controlled conditions. Genetic material in a 'gene bank' is preserved in a variety of ways, such as freezing at -196° Celsius in liquid nitrogen, being placed in artificial ecosystems, and put in controlled nutrient mediums. Accession is the common term given to an individual sample in a gene bank, such as a distinct species or variety. In plants, it is possible to unfreeze the material and propagate it. However, in animals, a living female is required for artificial insemination. While it is often difficult to use frozen animal sperm and eggs, there are many examples of it being done successfully. In an effort to conserve agricultural biodiversity, gene banks are used to store and conserve the plant genetic resources of major crop plants and their crop wild relatives. There are many gene banks all over the world, with the Svalbard Global Seed Vault being considered the most famous one. The database of the largest gene banks in the world can be queried via a common website, Genesys. A number of global gene banks are coordinated by the CGIAR Genebank Platform