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The Bank of Plant Genetic Resources (The Genebank)

The Bank of Plant Genetic Resources of the Agricultural University of Georgia holds the unique and largest Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) collection in Georgia.

The Genebank is located on the Campus of the Agricultural University of Georgia and is financed by the University. It maintains the collections of more than 2000 accessions of field and vegetable crops, including farmer-selected varieties, landraces, endemic species, and crop wild relatives, which are conserved in a newly modernized cold chamber.

 

The main goal of the Bank of Plant Genetic Resources
- Conservation, regeneration, multiplication, characterization and evaluation of the agricultural biodiversity of Georgia, and enrichment of genetic diversity of the collections;
- Research and use of local genetic resources for the improvement of agricultural productivity, enhancement of diseases and pests resistance, and for the development of crops that can meet challenges of a changing climate.

 

The scientific team of the Genebank
The scientific team of the Genebank is responsible for the standard genebank operations – conservation (short and long-term), regeneration, multiplication and research on stored collections of cereals, millets, legumes and vegetables.
The major research focus is concentrated on germplasm evaluation and morphological and biochemical characterization, taxonomic identification, field and laboratory evaluation, and screening on disease and pests resistance, seeds viability monitoring and seeds longevity studies.

 

Ongoing Project
Within the current basic research project funded by SRNSF “Acquisition, Regeneration and Characterization of Unique Georgian Plant Genetic Resources Conserved in Foreign Genebanks” collaboration with foreign genebanks and research centers such as: IPK Gatersleben, the USDA ARS and CIMMYT is established. More than 500 accessions of the unique Georgian PGR are returned and currently regeneration, multiplication, taxonomic and varietal identification, characterization and evaluation of the acquired seed samples are performed.

 

Main Research Interests and Activities
• Conservation, regeneration, characterization and evaluation of local plant genetic resources of field and vegetable crops;
• Morphological characterization and agronomic evaluation of selected accessions for crop yield enhancement;
• Biochemical characterization of cereals for revelation of their nutritional value (protein, fat, sugar, starch, fiber);
• Seed viability monitoring and research on different priming approaches for improving germination ability of naturally aged maize (Zea maize L.) and common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) seeds for the enhancement of naturally aged seeds germination potential and restoring seed viability in genebank collections;
• Evaluation of local germplasm for resistance to most damaging diseases in field and laboratory experiments;
• Screening Georgian maize germplasm for resistance to insect pests (lepidopteran and hemipteran) in field and laboratory experiments;
• Measure biochemical traits (e.g. benzoxazinoids, terpenoids, and callose formation) to identify their role in responses to specific biotic stresses;
• Study of fungal plant pathogens; research of the environmentally friendly methods to control plant pests and diseases by using fungal biocontrol agents.

 

Head of the Genebank: PhD Mariam Betsiashvili, Associate professor, email: m.betsiashvili@agruni.edu.ge