Plant gene conservation: world-class technology used manually in VN

Last update: 08:10 | 13/09/2017

VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam can access the world’s most advanced technology for genetic resource conservation, but most of the operations are being carried out manually.


Dr La Tuan Nghia, director of the Center for Plant Resources under the Vietnam Agriculture Science Institute, the unit which manages and preserves the National Gene Bank, confirmed this with the local press.

The preservation of gene resources of agricultural crops, especially local, indigenous, rare and endemic plants in Vietnam has been carried out for nearly 30 years. Gene resources of plants across the country are collected and conserved in three basic gene banks: seed bank (stored in cold storage), field gene bank (varieties are preserved through cultivation) and in-vitro (gene sources that cannot be kept under the other two storage modes or those that have poor vitality).

All the gene resources kept at the three banks will be provided to serve exploitation and use in production.

Vietnam can access the world’s most advanced technology for genetic resource conservation, but most of the operations are being carried out manually.

In principle, according to Nghia, gene resources of all living things need to be collected and conserved. However, due to the limits in resources (labor force, budget, infrastructure conditions and equipment), the collection and conservation is now focusing on precious and rare genetic resources or genes which are at risk of disappearing.

Every year, about 500 specimens of agricultural plant species are collected and preserved at the National Gene Bank at the Plant Resources Center.

At the seed bank, gene sources are treated and stored in cold storage with strict monitoring  to ensure stable temperature and humidity, which can be stored for more than 50 years in deep cold (- 20oC). 

At the field gene bank, gene sources are collected and cultivated annually. At in-vitro gene banks, gene sources are stored at a very low temperature in liquid nitrogen.

Regarding the technologies used at the banks, Nghia affirmed that the cold storage system at the Plant Resources Center has the necessary conditions to keep genetic resources that meet world standards.

However, the problem is that nearly all the operations are being done manually. But most of the steps are usually automated and carried out with the support of modern equipment.

There are about 35,000 seed specimens kept by the national plant conservation system at the Center for Plant Resources, including cereal plants, beans, vegetables, spices, tuber trees, fruit trees, industrial plants, plants for animal feed and for soil improvement, flowers, edible mushrooms and medicinal mushrooms.


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