Conservation Module

Conservation is the primary reason genebanks exists.

Collecting in the fields at ICARDA in Terbol, LebanonCredit: Shawn Landersz
Sampling wild wheat in the fields at ICARDA in Terbol, Lebanon. Credit: Shawn Landersz

The Conservation module has two objectives:

These objectives are underpinned by day-to-day activities in the genebanks that run the gamut from acquisition and processing of germplasm to safety duplication and distribution of samples, and include management of all the information generated by these and other activities.

The need for conservation

Crop diversity is essential to prepare agriculture for changing conditions. Because so much of that diversity is vulnerable and threatened in the field or in the wild, it must be conserved in order to be available to those who need it. Genebanks fulfill the need for so-called ex situ conservation.

The Conservation module supports the core activities of the genebanks, which underpin the security of the collections and, by extension, their use.

In addition, the Conservation module helps genebanks to increase the crop diversity they can take care of at the same time controlling the costs of conservation. This improves the long-term sustainability and efficiency of the genebanks. The Conservation module includes three research topics:


There are many areas in which CGIAR genebanks can continue to pursue efficiency. These range from the adoption of shared data management tools, such as GRIN-Global, to putting in place new equipment and streamlined processes. Improving methods and protocols through research on seed longevity and on cryopreservation also improves efficiency.

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.