Crop Genebank Knowledge Base

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Crops Wheat Safety duplication

Safety duplication of bread wheat, durum wheat, triticale and related cereals genetic resources

Contributors to this page: CIMMYT - Wheat, Mexico (Thomas Payne) and ICARDA, Syria (Ahmed Amri) with inputs also received from CIMMYT - Maize, Mexico (Suketoshi Taba); USDA - National Small Grains Collection, Aberdeen, Idaho, USA (Harold Bockelmann); CGN, Wageningen, The Netherlands (website) and IPK, Gatersleben, Germany (Helmut Knűpffer).

What is safety duplication

A research assistant for CIMMYT’s wheat germplasm collection, prepares a shipment of seeds from CIMMYT to be sent to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (photo: CIMMYT)

Safety duplication helps to prevent loss due to disasters. It is used to ensure that there are multiple preservation sites for germplasm accessions conserving variability for the global user community, in perpetuity.

Safety duplication serves to:

  • Integrate the accessions of one genebank into another genebank’s base collection.
  • Keep access-restricted blackbox samples of one genebank's accessions at another genebank for preservation of the collection.

When should it be used

  • Always.
  • Integration of the accessions into the other genebank collections is preferred than the blackbox safety duplicates.
  • Crop conservation networks need both types of the safety duplicates.

Sample specifications

To conserve adequate amounts of seed in long-term seed storage.

  • In case of integration of the safety duplicates, the recipient genebank will need to register the accessions.
  • Blackbox safety duplicates should ensure both seed viability and seed quality.

Minimum sample size

Moisture content

Container specifications

To ensure seed viability in the genebank and en route to the users.

Seed packaging method

  • Aluminum foil packets sealed hermetically under vacuum with a heat sealer.
  • The packets should be re-sealable and impermeable to air and moisture.
  • Packing is best carried out in an air-conditioned room with controlled humidity as soon as possible after drying.

Specifications of packaging material

Three-ply aluminum foil bags should be used comprising:

  • An inner layer of polyethylene, needed for sealing.
  • An intermediate layer of aluminum foil, which prevents moisture penetration.
  • An outer layer of polyester providing mechanical strength.

Storage specifications

Assigning location codes in boxes

Storage conditions

Shipping method

Should be safe, economical and fast enough to avoid delays and deterioration of seed quality during transfer.

  • Boxes should be shipped using the quickest, most reliable and most cost effective route and carrier possible.
  • Avoid shipments during hot times of the year.

Legal arrangements

Recording information during safety duplication

Each bag has a label containing all the necessary information about its content (photo: CIMMYT)

The following information should be recorded for each step:

  • Accession number (unique number).
  • Flag showing whether safety duplicated (Y/N).
  • Estimated number of seeds (estimated from 1000 kernel weight).
  • Weight of the sample (g).
  • Year of regeneration (date).
  • Year of safety duplication (date).
  • Name of institute holding the safety duplicate (institutional information).
  • Box label where the sample is placed (inventory).
  • Common steps (regardless of conservation strategy).




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International Agricultural Research Centres who worked together to make this site possible:
Africa Rice Center | Bioversity International | CIAT | CIMMYT | CIP | ICARDA | ICRISAT | IFPRI | IITA | ILRI | IRRI |

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