Crop Genebank Knowledge Base

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Crops Banana Conservation Registration

Registration of banana genetic resources

Contributors to this page: Bioversity International, Belgium (Ines Van den Houwe), Bioversity International, France (Max Ruas, Nicolas Roux); IITA, Nigeria (Dominique Dumet, Badara Gueye).

Verifying accompanying documentation

The following is a list of required documentation to be sent with the new materials.

  • Import permit issued by the recipient country.
  • Phytosanitary certificate issued by the official phytosanitary plant authority of the donor country.
  • A list of accessions being shipped. 

Verifying the consignment

The following is the required inspection procedure for plants to determine any plant health problems.

  • Visual inspection for fungi and bacteria.
  • Virus indexing of materials (see plant health diagnosis for more details).
  • If any pathogens are detected, materials should be destroyed.
  • If germplasm is rare, the pathogens should be eliminated before introducing the materials into the genebank.

Assigning numbers

New accessions are usually received as small samples of in vitro cultures, classical vegetative propagation material (young suckers) or as seeds.

  • Upon introduction of the new accessions into the genebank, a ‘temporary identifier’ must be assigned to each individual sample of the new accession until it is decided which sample, or set of derived sub-samples, will be included in the genebank and registered officially.
  • This temporary identifier usually consists of the accession's name and code, as provided by the donor, and the number of replicate samples e.g. a serial number (1, 2, or I, II, III) assigned at the genebank.
  • Tissue cultures derived from one single sample (shoot tip) should be tested aseptic (i.e. free of contaminating fungi and bacteria).
  • A minimum number (7) of vigorously growing tissue cultures derived from the selected sample should be established.
  • The official registration involves the allocation of a permanent and unique identifier code.

If the conditions described above cannot be met, then a temporary accession number must be assigned and plantlets must go through the necessary disease cleaning or multiplication process until they can be assigned a permanent number.

Procedures for disease testing

Procedures for disease testing at ITC include sending a set of five cultures to Virus Indexing Centres at CIRAD, France, QDPI, Australia or PPRI, South Africa, where the materials are tested for the presence of the five major banana viruses:

  • Cucumber mosaic cucumovirus (CMV).
  • Banana bunchy top virus (BBTV).
  • Banana streak virus (BSV).
  • Banana mild mosaic virus (BanMMV).
  • Banana bract mosaic virus (BBrMV).

A step by step guide to registration procedures is available by clicking on this link.

Extra samples

A separate subset of material can be kept after registration, to be regenerated under greenhouse conditions, for harvesting leaf samples that can be processed for DNA/lyophilized leaf bank. These banked leaf materials can serve as a reference for molecular identification for the germplasm stored in the active and base collections and samples can be made available to users for research in gene discovery and function, marker development and detailed genotypic characterization.

Recording information during registration

New materials - Introduction phase

Newly introduced meristems or nodal cuttings should be processed in batches. For each batch, a series of information should be recorded in a table with the following fields (at IITA):

  • Batch number.
  • Accession number.
  • Date of in vitro introduction.
  • Number of explants introduced.
  • Contamination.
  • Necrosis.
  • Operator.
  • Numbers of seedlings send to multiplication 1.
  • Contamination while in multiplication 1.
  • Necrosis while in multiplication 1.
  • Number of seedlings sent to the genebank.


Musa Germplasm Information Systems (MGIS)

In 1997, INIBAP laid the basis for a global information system for Musa through the release of MGIS. The aim of the system was to enhance knowledge on Musa diversity, to help rationalize conservation and to improve the use of banana genetic resources though a facilitated access to comprehensive information.

In 2005, the MGIS database contained key information, including passport data, botanical classification, morpho-taxonomic descriptors and characteristics such as agronomic traits, disease resistance, stress tolerance, biochemical or molecular genetic markers, and plant photographs, as well as GIS information on 5188 accessions managed in 18 banana collections around the world, making it the most extensive source of information on banana genetic resources.

The database is publicly accessible through the internet here. This global database can be queried on the identity, origin, characteristics and distribution of the individual accessions in the collections. This allows curators of the participant institutions worldwide to share and compare their data. The database is also particularly helpful for various germplasm users, namely breeders, researchers and farmer communities, to locate alternative sources of banana germplasm and identify the most appropriate accessions with particular traits of interest.



Homepage of the MGIS website (click on the picture to go to the MGIS homepage).

References and further reading

de Vicente C, Fulton T. 2003. Using molecular marker technology in studies on plant genetic diversity: Learning module Vol 1. IPGRI, Rome, Italy. View learning module here. Date accessed: 23 March 2010.

Engels JMM, Visser L, editors. 2003. A guide to effective management of germplasm collections. IPGRI Handbooks for Genebanks No. 6. IPGRI, Rome, Italy. Available in English (1.4 MB) and Spanish. (1.5 MB) 

International Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties (UPOV). 1991. International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. UPOV, Geneva. Available upon request in English, French, German and Spanish from: Date accessed: 23 March 2010.  

Rao NK, Hanson J, Dulloo ME, Ghosh K, Nowel D, Larinde M. 2006. Manual of seed handling in genebanks. Handbooks for Genebanks No. 8. Bioversity International, Rome, Italy. Available in English (1.5 MB),  Spanish (1.4 MB) and French. (1.9 MB)

Van den Houwe I, Panis B, Arnaud E, Markham R, Swennen R. 2006. The management of banana (Musa spp.) genetic resources at the IPGRI/INIBAP genebank: the conservation and documentation status. In: Segers H, Desmet P, Baus E, editors. Tropical biodiversity: science, data, conservation. Meeting: 3rd GBIF Science Symposium, Brussels, 18-19 April 2005. pp. 141-150. Available here. (8 MB)

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