With the launch of Bioversity International, the International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain (INIBAP) ceases to exist as an organization (except as a legal entity in France, its host country) but becomes instead the network of collections, curators and information scientists whose responsibility it is to take care of the world’s genetic resources of banana.
The foundation of this network is thus provided by the genebank of the INIBAP Transit Centre in Leuven, Belgium, where the greater part of the banana genepool is held, in trust for humanity, in a tissue culture collection that serves as a ‘safety back-up’ for all the diversity of banana plants growing in field collections, farms and forests around the world. A further safety back-up is provided by a steadily increasing collection of accessions that is held for the long term, without deterioration, by ‘cryopreservation’ in liquid nitrogen.
Regional and national collections around the world serve as field genebanks, holding banana varieties as growing plants, which can be used by banana breeders to make new crosses or multiplied and distributed to farmers in support of banana production. A unified information system is provided by the Musa Germplasm Information System that brings together a wealth of information on the bananas held in collections worldwide, helping users to identify and source the exact kinds of banana they need for their particular purposes. A Taxonomic Advisory Group, bringing together banana taxonomists, molecular scientists, curators and breeders, provides guidance and technical support for clarifying issues of nomenclature and developing strategies for rationalising conservation efforts.
The activities of the network are guided by the Global Conservation Strategy for Musa, which has been developed within the framework of the CGIAR/FAO Global Crop Diversity Trust, and continues to evolve in consultation with partners and in response to the needs of the banana research-and-development community.
phylogeny, crops, banana, genome