Identification, collection and research of the genetic potential of in situ cultivated plants for food and agriculture and their wild relatives
The aim of the project: to evaluate the situation of in situ grown plant genetic resources (PGR) in Latvia, to carry out sampling expeditions, description of PGR using descriptor lists and inclusion in the collection of Latvia agricultural plant gene bank.
Tasks of work:
1. Collection of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture and their wild relatives in Latvia:
1.1. Awareness of the situation about genetic resources in Latvia, involving the public (e.g. NGOs).
1.2. Elaboration of the expedition plan and its implementation with the aim to make collection routes as wide as possible, covering regions not previously visited; design of expeditions involving experts covering different plant species.
2. Research on collected genetic resources samples:
2.1. Characterization (evaluation) of collected samples according to descriptor lists approved by the Genetic Resources Council,
2.2. Ensure inclusion of samples into Gene Bank (GB) collections according to the obtained characterization results.
3. The development of recommendations for in situ plant genetic conservation in Latvia.
Identification and conservation of genetic resources in situ (in the wild habit) and 'on-farm' (in orchards and in the countryside) are necessary because these genetic resources are adapted to local conditions and are also the cultural heritage of the society. Identification and conservation are urgent as these genetic resources are disappearing.
Characterization and evaluation descriptors are a list of traits that have been developed for each species to describe the samples. They include morphological (e.g. leaf, flower shapes and colours) as well as agronomic (e.g. 1000 seed weight, protein content, abundance, winter hardiness) characteristics.
The characterization and evaluation descriptors developed in Latvia can be found here
Description of sample should be repeated for at least 3 years as many traits are also affected by environmental conditions.
The descriptor database is maintained in the Gene Bank and descriptor data are collected and verified (by year and in total). Descriptor data is used to select specimens with specific characteristics, as well as for local cultivar registration, confirming the descriptor in the registration process.
The project will provide an opportunity to identify and conserve plant genetic resources in Latvia, to develop recommendations for future in situ conservation, and to ensure sustainable use of genetic resources.
Information about the project can be found here.