KEY IMPACTS IN 2017
seed samples were distributed to more than 47 partners in 12 countries
accessions were regenerated in the 2016/17 cropping season
accessions were deposited in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault
of ICARDA’s genebank holdings were assigned DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers)
Efforts to develop and conserve our unique collection of genetic resources will help secure the food and nutritional security of millions of vulnerable people across dry areas.
ICARDA's seed collection contains over 155,400 samples of major winter cereals, food legumes, forage, and rangeland species, most drawn from regions where the earliest known crop domestication practices were recorded, including the Fertile Crescent in West Asia, the Abyssinian Highlands in Ethiopia, and the Mediterranean region. These collections include large numbers of landraces no longer found in current farming systems.
These unique genetic resources provide the essential building blocks of improved climate-resilient crops – our best chance of enhancing food and nutritional security while coping with the adverse impacts of climate change, including drought, extreme temperatures, and the emergence of pests and disease in new locations.
In 2017, ICARDA continued to develop and expand its decentralized genebank infrastructure, including improvements to recently constructed facilities in Lebanon and Morocco. This decentralized approach has helped enhance the efficiency of ICARDA's seed distribution systems, and through open access initiatives, we have made our data on genetic resources widely available through the genebank portal Genesys.
SELECTED ACTIVITIES AND INITIATIVES
Securing the long-term conservation of ICARDA's genetic resources
Since withdrawing seed from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in 2015, ICARDA successfully regenerated 38,000 accessions – including more than 26,000 during the 2016/17 cropping season – and deposited over 31,000 accessions back into the vault for long-term security. The launch of an online database last year improved data management, and the utilization of a bar-coding system helped to process and monitor our plant genetic resources more efficiently.
Supporting the development of resilient crops
Accurate evaluations of ICARDA accessions helped to identify superior genetic material for the development of resilient crops, providing invaluable support to crop breeders at ICARDA and partner organizations such as INRA-Morocco and NORDGEN. Efforts in 2017 included evaluating grasspea accessions for orobanche tolerance and low toxin content; evaluating lentil and wild chickpea accessions for fusarium wilt resistance; screening for high beta-glucans in wild Hordeum spontaneum barley; and evaluating Hordeum bulbosum barley introgression lines for resistance to a range of biotic and abiotic stresses.
Distributing seed samples to global partners
In 2017, more than 8,100 seed samples were distributed from ICARDA's genebank in Lebanon and Morocco to more than 47 partners in 12 countries. Identified using the Focused Identification of Germplasm Strategy (FIGS), a scientifically proven tool that helps to identify useful traits in plant genetics more accurately and efficiently, these samples are adapted to local conditions and help national partners face challenges that threaten agricultural productivity in their own environments.