Banking on the seeds; a Telangana seed bank preserves future in seeds

The ICRISAT Genebank in Telangana is banking on seeds. The institution functions as a global repository for the collection of germplasm of six mandate crops, which includes sorghum, pearl millet, chickpea, pigeonpea, groundnut, finger millet, and five small millets, foxtail millet, little millet, kodo millet, proso millet, and barnyard millet.

The Genebank have 126,830 samples of crops stored as seeds, which are collected from 144 countries. It is one of the largest among such international repositories of plant genetic material. The collection of raw genetic material is crucial in breeding diverse crops to ensure food security. Now, new projects are being rolled out to secure and bolster the collection of the Genebank, identify gap areas and enhance its usability.

There are crops from Asia, much of southern and eastern Africa, and a few locations in Latin America in the repository. The invaluable treasures are safeguarded in neatly labelled cans and vacuum sealed aluminium foil packs. The four decade old archive is situated at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) headquarters at Patancheru near Hyderabad in Telangana.

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