The major duty of the Plant Genetic Resources Institute of the National Centre for Biodiversity and Gene Conservation is the implementation of the basic national gene bank tasks related to the preservation of crops and vegetables. The institute performs complete gene bank activities including the development of the national gene bank collections, their agrobotanical analysis and assessment, documentation and dissemination besides their medium and long term conservation in cooled seed storage rooms, plantations or in some cases through in vitro cultures. Further tasks include organization and coordination related to the conservation of Hungarian landraces and ecotypes – well adapted to the local conditions – at their original production sites (“in situ” or “on-farm”) and the arrangement and implementation of seed collection activities. In addition, through the Pannon Seed Bank project – implemented within the framework of the EU LIFE+ programme – the activities of the institute also cover the ex situ conservation of the genetic resources of wild vascular plants.
Different methods for the preservation of plant genetic resources
1. Ex situ conservation: conservation in gene banks out of the original production site, which can be
- traditional conservation in seed collections, plantations or cultures or
preservation with novel tools by in vitro or other methods.
In situ conservation:
preservation and – in some cases – restoration of the viable populations of plant species, varieties and cultivars at their original production sites in their natural environment.
Within the in situ method farmer based or on farm conservation can be used for the natural preservation and utilization of landraces (cultivars adapted to the ecological conditions of a given region) at those original production sites where their characteristic traits developed.
The gene bank collection of the Plant Genetic Resources Institute of the National Centre for Biodiversity and Gene Conservation:
|Number of unique accessions
|Wild species (Pannon Seed Bank)
|In vitro collection
|Fruits (woody plants)
The seed collections of the Plant Genetic Resources Institute of the National Centre for Biodiversity and Gene Conservation are preserved in cooled storage rooms at the degrees of 0°C and -20°C. The base collection is used for the long term conservation of the genetic reserves with a storage temperature of -20°C. The expected lifespan of accessions preserved this way may even exceed 100 years. Active collections are stored at a temperature of about 0°C, and expected storage lifespan reaches 20-30 years. Here collections used for the dissemination of genetic resources, analysis and research purposes can be found. During both storage methods seeds are first slowly and gently dried, and then are put into airtight and vapour proof containers. The Plant Genetic Resources Institute of the National Centre for Biodiversity and Gene Conservation has 15 active and 4 base storage rooms for the preservation of its seed collections.
Request for seeds
It is also possible to ask for samples from the genetic resources preserved by our institute. The Plant Genetic Resources Institute of the National Centre for Biodiversity and Gene Conservation regularly puts a proposed list on its Hungarian website including the current samples which can be requested.