PGR training needs identified

There’s an open access Crop Science Special Issue out under the title: Connecting Agriculture, Public Gardens and Science. Well worth having a look at. There’s great stuff on crop wild relatives, plant awareness, chefs, and trans-situ conservation, just to give you a flavour. There’s also a summary of the symposium that gave rise to the special issue. Our friend Colin Khoury was closely involved.

I’ll just highlight here the paper by Gayle Volk and others on training needs in plant genetic resources conservation.1 The authors sent out a survey and analyzed the feedback from 425 respondents by type of institution: academia, NPGS, CGIAR, national genebanks, NGOs and the private sector. There were, fortunately, some topics which a majority across all institutions considered high priority areas for training:

  • accessing information
  • crop wild relatives
  • genotyping
  • phenotyping
  • intellectual property and regulatory issues

But there were also some differences.

The respondents from academia were also interested … in prebreeding, which is not surprising because many of these respondents were plant breeders. Respondents from the private sector were also interested … in requests/distributions and prebreeding, and respondents from NGOs were also interested … in collection gap analyses, explorations, germplasm preservation, intellectual property, and regulations. The genebank respondents (NPGS, CGIAR, non-NPGS government) considered germplasm preservation, intellectual property, and general concepts in plant genetic diversity as priority topics. These differences among the institutional types are not surprising due to their different missions.

This all came out of an initiative from the NPGS that started back in early 2018. Training materials of various types are being developed. Will keep you posted.

  1. Volk, G. M., P. K. Bretting, and P. F. Byrne. 2019. Survey Identifies Essential Plant Genetic Resources Training Program Components. Crop Sci. 59:2308-2316. doi:10.2135/cropsci2019.05.0324. []

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