Ex Situ Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources: Global Development and Environmental Concerns

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Science  23 Aug 1991:
Vol. 253, Issue 5022, pp. 866-872
DOI: 10.1126/science.253.5022.866


Conservation of plant genetic resources is achieved by protection of populations in nature (in situ) or by preservation of samples in gene banks (ex situ). The latter are essential for users of germplasm who need ready access. Ex situ conservation also acts as a back-up for certain segments of diversity that might otherwise be lost in nature and in human-dominated ecosystems. The two methods are complementary, yet better understanding of this interrelation and the role of ex situ conservation in global environmental considerations is needed. Inclusion of ex situ conservation efforts within current environmental policies conserving global diversity would focus greater international attention on the safeguarding of these efforts.