Chinese genebank in the top 10

The Chinese Academy of Science and Chinese Academy of Engineering voted for the country’s top 10 scientific achievements of 2007, and guess what? In at number 9 is the establishment of a genebank at the Kunming Institute of Botany.

After its completion, the resource bank will include a seed bank, vitro plant germplasm resource bank, DNA bank, and microbial seed bank. It will collect and preserve 190,000 copies (strains) of 19,000 varieties of germplasm resources.

The last genebank that got such press was you know what. No, wait, here’s another! Are genebanks the new black or something?

Apples unmoved

One of the bits of news we missed while we were resting and relaxing as hard as we were: the UK’s collection of apples and other fruits is staying at Brogdale. This may strike you as no-news news. It isn’t.

Long-standing readers will remember that the UK government put management of the site out to tender, and that two of the proposals required moving the entire collection to a new site. This seemed like a slightly daft idea, at least from our perspective. So it is good to relate that the management contract was awarded to Reading University, who will be leaving the collection where it is.

The Visitor Centre and sales areas are being expanded, and it could be that the collection is now poised to play a more important role in spreading the good news about all those fruit varieties that aren’t available in little plastic bags in the supermarket.

It has been a long and complex struggle, and it is not clear what the future of the Brogdale Horticultural Trust. We’ll try and keep informed.