The Centre for Genetic Resources, the Netherlands (CGN) conducts, on behalf of the Dutch government, statutory research tasks associated with the genetic diversity and identity of species that are important for agriculture and forestry. CGN is an independent research unit within DLO Foundation that assists the government in its statutory tasks.
Its activities are aimed at the ex situ conservation, support for in situ conservation, and promotion of the use of genetic propagation material in support of breeding and research, and as part of our bio-cultural heritage. Policy support of the Dutch government and international organizations is provided as a complementarily activity. The programme concerns crops and forest species as well as domestic animals.
Programme Genetic Resources
Genetic diversity is a necessity for adaptation of our agricultural crops and domestic animals to new diseases, changing production methods (organic farming), a changing climate, or new consumer demands. On a world-wide scale, this genetic diversity, formed in agricultural practice over many ages, is strongly decreasing. Genetic erosion is a serious threat to the future world food security and hinders the further development of sustainable agricultural production. The programme forms the Dutch contribution to the international co-operation aimed at ex situ and in situ conservation and sustainable use of plant, animal and forest genetic resources. This contribution consists of policy support and support for in situ conservation, and the maintenance and stimulation of the use of collections, all in close co-operation with international partners and is based on the Dutch obligations ensuing from the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. CGN maintains collections of crops, domestic animals and ex situ collections of tree.
The crop collections include a total of over 22.000 different genetic samples while the animal collections consist of a large number of samples of over 50 different varieties. Gathering information about the material in the collection and making this information available via internet is an important priority, for which appearance and properties such as molecular-genetic characteristics are analysed. There is an extensive part on this website about approach and material covering the part of the programme aimed at the conservation of plant material.
Finally, CGN closely collaborates with the State Forest Service in maintaining, monitoring, sampling and documenting living ex situ collections of trees, consisting of more than 3500 accessions of 50 species collected from 400 locations across the country.