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Andreas Börner: Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The Backbone for Feeding Future Generations – székfoglaló előadás

12 April 2023 | AM 11:00

MTA Székház, Nagyterem
1051 Budapest, Széchenyi István tér 9.

Plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) play a major role in global food security. The most significant and widespread means of conserving PGRFA is ex situ conservation. Most conserved accessions are kept in specialised facilities known as genebanks. World-wide, 7.4 million accessions are stored in about 1,750 ex situ genebanks.

Andreas Börner is responsible for the management of the Gatersleben genebank collection, which entails the long-term storage, multiplication and distribution of the germplasm, comprising a wide spectrum of accessions representing most temperate crop species. With a total inventory of 150,000 accessions from 3,212 plant species and 776 genera, the ‘Federal Ex situ Genebank of Germany’ in Gatersleben holds one of the most comprehensive collections worldwide.

The majority of genebank accessions globally is stored in the form of seed and, therefore, seed longevity is of particular importance for crop germplasm preservation. Consequently, Börner initiated intensive activities in seed science research. Studies were performed regarding barley, wheat, rapeseed oil, peas and tobacco. Variation for seed storability was found both between crop species but also between accessions of the same species. Genetic analyses of seed longevity were performed with the application of accelerated ageing tests. In addition, seed lots which were stored over varying lengths of time (35 to 40 years), an exclusive resource for the detection of loci responsible for seed ageing under cold and dry conditions (natural aged seeds), were genetically dissected. In addition to these genetic studies, seed material was also used for various physiological and biochemical surveys. Metabolite profiling using gas-chromatography mass-spectrometry (GC-MS) in seed stocks of wheat identified glycerol and glycerol-phosphate as highly negatively correlated to germination, pointing to lipid hydrolysis in the aging seed.

In close collaboration with international partner institutions also located in Hungary, Börner performed a comprehensive phenotypic evaluation and genetic characterisation of the germplasm. In cereals, a number of bi-parental mapping populations and association mapping panels were established to allow for the genetic analysis of various traits, with the main focus on abiotic stress tolerance.


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