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Comparative studies of genetic diversity in wheat and barley germplasm collected at different time periods

Khlestkina, E.K., Huang, X., Varshney, R.K.ORCID: 0000-0002-4562-9131, Chebotar, S., Röder, M.S., Graner, A. and Börner, A. (2005) Comparative studies of genetic diversity in wheat and barley germplasm collected at different time periods. In: 13th International EWAC Conference, 27 June - 1 July 2005, Prague, Czech Republic



Allelic diversity in germplasm collections is of great concern for plant breeding and crop improvement programmes. However, human activities like urbanisation, the replacement of traditional agriculture system by modern industrial methods or the introduction of modern high-yielding varieties may present a threat to biological diversity. The ex situ conservation of plant genetic resources represents an essential contribution to the conservation of both intra- and inter-specific diversity of crops and their wild relatives. In this context, the storage of genetic resources in genebanks is of great significance. For example, the genebank of IPK presently holds about 150,000 accessions of different plant species including 28,000 and 21,000 accessions of wheat and barley, respectively (Annual Report- IPK, 2004). To create that genebank collection, more than 140 expeditions were made to different parts of the world, starting in the Twenties of the last century. For instance, E. Mayr collected landraces of cereals in the Austrian Alps during 1922-1932, A. Herrlich and collaborators collected germplasm from the Himalayas (India, Nepal) in the 1930s or H. Stubbe and his associates collected in the Balkans (Albania, Greece) in the early 1940s. Several decades later, some collection missions were repeated, although not always exactly the same areas were covered. That was the case for Nepal (1971), Northern India (1976), Austria (1982, 1983, 1986) or Albania (1993, 1994). Thus, the germplasm collections available in gene banks provide an opportunity to investigate changes in genetic diversity in materials collected from comparable geographic regions during different expeditions.

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