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.
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!