Seed bank for maize genetic resources

Contributors to this page: CIMMYT, Mexico (Suketoshi Taba), with inputs also received from IITA, Nigeria (Dominique Dumet), EMBRAPA (maize and sorghum genebank), Brazil (Flavia Teixeira), USDA (ARS/NC7, ISU), USA (Mark Millard).

Inside the USDA maize seedbank in Ames, USA
(photo: M. Mackay)

Conservation of maize germplasm

There are more than 135 000 samples of maize seeds conserved in seed banks worldwide. Most cultivated accessions and a wild relative – teosinte are conserved in seed banks.

References and further reading

Chang TT. 1985. Preservation of crop germplasm. Iowa State Journal of Research. Vol. 59. No.4. pp. 365-378.

FAO/IPGRI. 1994. Genebank standards. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome and International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome. Available in English, Spanish, French and Arabic.

Global Crop Diversity Trust. 2007. Global strategy for the ex situ conservation and utilization of maize germplasm [online]. Available for download from: Date accessed: 21 March 2013.

Justice OL, Bass LN. 1978. Principles and practices of seed storage. Agriculture handbook no. 506. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C.

Probert RJ, Hay FR. 2000. Keeping seeds alive. In: Black M, Bewley JD, editors. Seed technology and its biological basis. CRC Press LLC. USA and Canada. pp. 375-404.

Taba S, Ginkel M, Hoisington D, Poland D. 2004. Wellhausen-Anderson Plant Genetic Resources Center: Operations manual, 2004. El Batan, Mexico: CIMMYT. Available here.

The Genebanks

The 11 CGIAR genebanks currently conserve 730,000 of cereals and grain legumes, forage crops, tree species, root and tuber crops, bananas and crop wild relatives.