Ex situ conservation activities have been undertaken since 1964. They are still in progress within the framework of NPGRRP. Collection by sampling maximum variations and determination of the interspecific, agroecological and phytogeographical distribution of plant species are the first steps of the project. Data of former surveys and expeditions are compiled, and priorities of locations and plant species are considered to eliminate duplicate efforts, during planning of the collection missions. The missions each year are programmed to collect the existing plant genetic resources for eight plant groups (cereals, forage, food legumes, vegetables, industrial crops, ornamental, medicinal and aromatic plants, fruit and grapes) and endemic plant species. The collections in each plant group consist of landraces, wild relatives and other wild plant species considered to be in the plant group. The endemics are collected specifically, separately from the plant groups.
Ex situ conservation is implemented both for generative and vegetative collections, which are preserved in seed gene bank and field gene banks, respectively. The vegetatively propagated material, mainly fruit genetic resources, are kept in field gene banks at 13 in stitutes (including AARI). Garlic, some medicinal and aromatic plants and ornamental collections are also kept as field collections at AARI. The national collection contains the landraces, wild and weedy relatives (both for seed and vegetative collections) and other wild species which are especially economically important plants and endemic species. The main users of the material are the plant breeders and researchers both from Turkey and abroad. There are some research activities on the in vitro storage techniques of some vegetative plant species.
The storage facilities of the Izmir Gene Bank (at AARI) for seed collection have been designed for the needs of long term and medium term storage for both base and active collections, respectively.28 Cold rooms work at minus 18°C for long term and 0°C for medium term storage for base and active collections. For temporary storage, aluminum laminated foils are used. All conditions in the gene bank comply with internationally recommended standards. For safe duplication of the base collection, other storage facilities are available in Ankara (at CRIFC).
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