A mighty wind

My recent post about lighting strikes in a coconut genebank was picked up by the excellent Coconut Google Group and generated some interesting responses. In particular, there’s a comment from Charles Clement of the National Institute of Amazonian Research in Manaus, Brazil recounting how a high-velocity wind blast — an Amazonian wind storm — took out a large chunk of his peach palm (Bactris gasipaes) genebank. Ex situ conservation in field genebanks can be a risky business indeed. The solutions are clear: more replications within collections, cleverly distributed in space; safety duplication of the entire collection somewhere else entirely (in vitro or as seeds as appropriate); and complementary conservation in situ. But that all costs money. I would say that most food crop accessions maintained in field genebanks around the world are unique. Take coconut. The Coconut Genetic Resources Database records 1416 accessions from 28 genebanks in 23 countries. More than 600 of them are represented by a single accession.

One Reply to “A mighty wind”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *