National Gene Bank
The Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare inaugurated the world’s second-largest refurbished state-of-the-art National Gene Bank at the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR).
- Gene Banks are a type of biorepository which preserve genetic material. A collection of seed plants, tissue cultures etc.
- A gene is the basic physical and functional unit of heredity. Genes are made up of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA).
- The National Gene Bank was established in the year 1996 to preserve the seeds of Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) for future generations, and has the capacity to preserve about one million germplasm in the form of seeds.
- Germplasm is living tissue from which new plants can be grown.
- NBPGR is meeting the need of in-situ and ex-situ germplasm conservation through Delhi Headquarters and 10 regional stations in the country.
- In situ and ex situ conservation focuses on the maintenance of species diversity within or away from their natural habitats, respectively.
- Presently, it is protecting 4.52 lakh accessions, of which 2.7 lakh are Indian germplasm and the rest have been imported from other countries.
- An accession is a single, collected variety or varieties of a wild plant, a landrace or a plant variety that has been produced by selective breeding, more commonly known as a cultivar.
- The NGB has four kinds of facilities, namely, Seed Genebank (- 18°C), Cryogenebank (-170°C to -196°C), In vitro Genebank (25°C) and Field Genebank, to cater to long-term as well as medium-term conservation.
- It stores different crop groups such as cereals, millets, medicinal and aromatic plants and narcotics, etc.