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Ann Tutwiler the case for a global cryo-collection


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Presentation given by Ann Tutwiler, Director General, Bioversity International, at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault Anniversary Event, February 2018.

This presentation outlines the results of a feasibility study for a Global Cryo-Collection of crops that cannot be conserved by seed. These include banana, cacao, cassava, coconut, coffee, potato and yams. These crops either don’t produce conventional seeds, like bananas, or because the seeds they do produce do not always resemble their parents, like potatoes and many other roots and tubers making it impossible to reproduce them.

Cryopreservation is safe and reliable and dependable. In cryopreservation, plants are stored in in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196 °C, a temperature so cold that it effectively stops all the living processes within the plant tissue, freezing it forever in time. Plants can then be regenerated from tiny stored samples and grown into whole plants.

This study was commissioned by Bioversity International, the International Potato Center (CIP) and the Global Crop Diversity Trust with financial support from Australia, Germany and Switzerland.

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Ann Tutwiler the case for a global cryo-collection

  1. 1. Feasibility Study for a Global Cryo-Collection Ann Tutwiler, Director General, Bioversity International Monday 26 February 2018
  2. 2. Presentation Overview • The case for a Global Cryo-Collection • What is Cryopreservation? • The Feasibility Study Conclusions Cryopreservation tanks at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. Credit: IITA Excision of a banana meristem at the International Musa Transit Centre. Credit: Bioversity International Cryopreservation process at the International Potato Center. Credit: CIP
  3. 3. The Case for a Global Cryo-Collection National Genebanks conserve about 6.6 million of the total 7.4 million accessions held worldwide. 11 CGIAR Genebanks collectively conserve >750,000 accessions. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault contains >5000 crop species, farmers’ land races, breeding material and wild plants. ?
  4. 4. The Case for a Global Cryo-Collection: Many Critical Food and Nutrition Security Crops Cannot be Conserved in Perpetuity by Seeds Annually 1 billion tonnes of these crops are produced globally, valued at US$100 billion (FAOSTAT)
  5. 5. The Case for a Global Cryo-Collection: There is no Long-term Global Backup We can conserve these crops in the short to medium term as plantlets, or in field collections. Many existing collections are at risk from natural disasters and conflicts. In the long term, this method is risky, costly and time-consuming. We need an alternative method to secure these crops forever. 45,000 accessions were held at the Philippine National Genebank – including varieties of maize, mungbean, tomato, aubergine, yam, soybean, sorghum and cowpea. 70% were destroyed in a single Thursday afternoon in 2006, by a typhoon. The remaining collection was also damaged by fire in 2012.
  6. 6. The Case for a Global Cryo-Collection: Cryopreservation is Safe, Reliable and Feasible CGIAR Centers – notably Bioversity International, CIAT, CIP and IITA – have cryopreserved collections. Other genebanks and institutions also engaged in cryobanking including Japan and USDA. Bioversity International and KU Leuven with support of the Crop Trust, developed protocols for >30 species. Cryopreservation offers a solution for the long-term conservation of other crops that cannot be conserved by seed. Musa varieties held in the cryopreservation lab at the International Transit Centre, Belgium. Credit: Bioversity International Cryopreservation at the International Potato Center, Peru. Credit: CIP
  7. 7. What is Cryopreservation? Storing plant materials at the ultra- low temperature of liquid nitrogen (-196°C): • Halts all biological, physical and chemical processes • Avoids the formation of ice crystals which can damage membrane structures and kill the cells Cryopreservation tanks at The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. Credit: IITA
  8. 8. What is Cryopreservation? A Step-By-Step Guide Step 1: You need in vitro plants Step 2: Excise meristem from which a whole new plant can be regenerated Step 3: Expose meristem to solutions with a high concentration of compounds to gently withdraw water from cells Step 4: Plunge tissues into liquid nitrogen for extreme rapid freezing Meristem from a potato. Credit: CIP Banana stored in vitro. Credit: Bioversity International
  9. 9. The Feasibility Study Conclusions Multi-partner and multi-disciplinary task force: 1: Assessment of current and future potential use 2: Analysis of the state of conservation of propagated and recalcitrant seed species 3: Policy and technical requirements for the location and operation 4: Costs of establishing and running a safety back-up cryopreservation facility
  10. 10. The Feasibility Study Conclusions: Few Collections Cryopreserved Percentage of the total holdings of 15 institutes who responded to the survey. The data represents 29 crops that are maintained in cryopreservation, in vitro culture and in the field. 66% 46% 15% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Field In vitro Cryopreserved %oftotalnumberofaccessionsinthecollections
  11. 11. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 *includes artichoke, hop & grapes, and other fruit trees & berries The Feasibility Study Conclusions: Narrow Range of Crops in Cryo-Collections Percentage representation of different crops in the cryopreserved collections of the 15 institutes % Have collections >100 accessions
  12. 12. The Feasibility Study Conclusions: Lack of Budget & Capacity Are Major Challenges Difficulties faced by 20 institutes who responded to the survey on implementing cryopreservation 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 Other technical issues Lack of equipment Protocol issues Lack of skilled personnel Insufficient budget
  13. 13. The Feasibility Study Conclusions: Case for a Global Cryo-Collection • Cryopreservation of some important species hampered by poor in vitro protocols and low survival rates after cryopreservation • 100,000 unique accessions at risk of loss The study concludes that: “A major global initiative is urgently needed to accelerate the development and implementation of crop cryopreservation.”
  14. 14. The Feasibility Study Conclusions: Recommended Policies for Governance Rights of ownership and control over deposited materials remain with depositing institution under a black-box agreement. Operations overseen by international advisory council and technical committee. Operates within framework of Plant Treaty, hosted in a country that has ratified it. Deposits managed by an institute engaged in plant genetic resource conservation, with expertise in cryopreserving different kind of crops.
  15. 15. The Feasibility Study Conclusions: Practical Considerations for Location Successful long-term back-up Global Cryo-Collection will require: • Constant monitoring of all critical equipment. • Uninterrupted power, security and access control systems. • One large storage container with space to expand to store 100,000 accessions (8-12 cryotanks). • Secure source of liquid nitrogen and appropriate storage systems. • Easy access with close link with training facilities for capacity strengthening. Photocredit: Pointer-Pin-Icon-1864379
  16. 16. From Feasibility to Reality – Call to Action for: A task force to evaluate proposals for hosting the Cryo-Collection Interested parties to prepare bids CGIAR Centers (and others) to propose a location Donor commitment
  17. 17. In Partnership With:
  18. 18. Thank You For more information, contact: David Ellis Head of Genebank, Program Leader, Conserving Biodiversity for the Future, CIP| Charlotte Lusty Head of Programs, Genebank Platform Coordinator, Crop Trust Bart Panis Senior Scientist, Bioversity International