CIMMYT Wheat Germplasm Bank 2016 Activities and Accomplishments

Located at CIMMYT headquarters in Central Mexico, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) Wheat Germplasm Bank contains nearly 150,000 collections of seed of wheat and related species from more than 100 countries. Collections preserve the diversity of unique native varieties and wild relatives of wheat and are held under long-term storage for the benefit of humanity in accordance with the 2007 International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The collections are also studied and used as a source of diversity to breed for crucial traits such as heat and drought tolerance, resistance to crop diseases and pests, grain yield productivity and grain quality. Seed is freely shared on request to researchers, students, and academic and development institutions worldwide

CIMMYT’s Wheat Germplasm Bank: A dynamic wheat collection.

The CIMMYT Wheat Germplasm Bank serves external and internal clients. The collection held in the bank is dynamic. The bank not only incorporates new introductions, but rationalizes holdings through accession archiving, both managed by ISO9001 certification. Recently, the bank has acquired wheat landraces from Albania, Belarus, Nepal, Mongolia and Ukraine.

The Mexican funded MasAgro Seeds of Discovery and the CGIAR Research Program on WHEAT jointly supported DArT-seq genotyping at CIMMYT of maize and wheat germplasm, with a total of approximately 90,000 wheat bank accessions from CIMMYT and ICARDA genotyped. Data for these materials is available on CIMMYT databases including GRIN Global (passport), Germinate (molecular), DataVerse (phenotypic evaluation) and

CIMMYT celebrates 50 years of service

In September 2016, CIMMYT celebrated the 50th anniversary of it’s founding as an international center, emerging from several incarnations as country-based regional programs dating back to 1946. Conservation and use of genetic resources has been a strong theme throughout CIMMYT’s history. International and regional nurseries formally began distribution in the early 1960s. The CIMMYT Germplasm Bank has been in operation since 1966 for maize and 1981 for wheat. The banks were certified under ISO 9001:2008 in 2012 and certification has been renewed through 2018.

The current facilities were opened in 1996 through the generous support of the Japanese Government and Telmex Foundation. Solar panels were installed to contribute to supplying a sustainable, renewable source of power to the facility in 2015, through annual support by the Germany Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ.) The bank’s operations are primarily supported by the CGIAR Research Program for Managing and Sustaining Crop Collections (Genebanks CRP) and the Global Crop Diversity Trust.

Wheat wild relative regeneration

Moving towards collaboration of CGIAR-held wheat collection operations, CIMMYT and ICARDA have strengthened our collaborative activities. Regeneration of wheat crop-wild relatives is problematic in Mexico and Morocco, where confined regeneration facilities are required to prevent the escape of potentially noxious wild species. In 2016, a pilot trial of 1000 CIMMYT-held wild wheat accessions were regenerated at ICARDA’s new genebank at Terbol, Lebanon and CIMMYT contributed to the regeneration of 4171 ICARDA-held wheat landraces at its Mexicali quarantine regeneration site in northwestern Mexico.

Genomics for Genebanks

In December, CIMMYT’s Seeds of Discovery hosted the Genomics for Genebank (G4G) workshop. The aim of the workshop is to use genomic data to make genebank collections more accessible to clients. Genotyping technologies are among a suite of tools used to enable rapid and cost-effective work to study genetic diversity. The workshop brought together 54 researchers and explored the use of tools for genetic curation of accessions within collections.

With such information across global collections, it will become possible to identify the unique accessions across genebanks. The hope is to identify possible gaps in the global collection and enable targeted access to genetic diversity. Major updates that came from G4G conference are the needs of aegilops, banana, barley, beans, cassava, chickpeas, cowpeas, forages, maize, soybeans, sweet potato and wheat to all increase investments in phenotyping, bioinformatics and genotyping.

Save a Seed

In September, CIMMYT launched “Save a Seed,” a crowdsourcing campaign used to raise funding and awareness for the CIMMYT Germplasm Bank. In just eight weeks, 30 individuals and 28 organizations contributed US $51,361. Contributions from the private sector companies exceeded US $48,000. Contributions uver US $1000 will be used to improve the teosinte regeneration facilities in Tlaltizipan. The rest of the money will be used to support the conservation and distribution of maize and wheat genetic resources at CIMMYT. We are so grateful for the help and support we received throughout this campaign!

2015 Survey Results

In 2016, we sent out the Annual Impact Survey, which asked users of the CIMMYT Germplasm Bank to assess our services. Several clients noted a few key areas where the CIMMYT Wheat Germplasm Collection needs improvement. Clients requested these improvements: better access to and coverage of our data and information; more useful web search tools; and broader trait and gene diversity. We are now working to address these concerns and are striving to improve the data quality accessible through our CIMMYT GRIN Global and GeneSys web portals. Besides these few key improvements, other areas of service were rated as good or excellent.

2016 Wheat Germplasm Bank Staff

Thomas S. Payne, Germplasm Bank Manager; Bibiana Espinosa, Research Associate;

Rocío Quiroz, Research Assistant; Hedilberto Velázquez, Research Assistant;

Jesús Perales, Research Assistant; Clara Torres, Research Technician;

Ocavio Frutero, Research Technician; Martín Ordaz Cano, Research Technician;

Sergio González, Data Curator

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