Plant Genetic Resources CGN

Plant Genetic Resources

Spinach nearly disappeared from the supermarket shelves when a plant disease that causes leaf spots hindered production. Breeders used genes of a wild variety from Uzbekistan and Tadzhikistan to develop an improved spinach variety. The genebank for plant genetic resources collected the material and is now safeguarding it for the future.

Genetic variation in agricultural and horticultural crops is the foundation for our food
Theo van Hintum

CGN manages the genebank for plant genetic resources which stores almost 24,000 varieties and wild populations. It ranges from commercial varieties, landraces and farmer varieties to wild varieties of crops from over 150 countries. Breeders can use the genebank to develop crops that are, for instance, resistant to certain diseases or pests or less susceptible to climate change.

Managing a genebank is one of the ways that CGN contributes to the conservation and application of plant genetic diversity in an international context. This work involves European partnerships as well as worldwide cooperation within the Global Crop Diversity Trust.

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What we can do for you

Requesting seed material

You can search and request genebank material. CGN aims to make the genebank collections completely accessible to all professional users. We are constantly broadening the diversity of the genebank by including new material, with the collections being described and documented in detail.


Since its establishment in 1985, CGN has worked closely with breeding companies to build up its collections. Breeders supply material and support conservation by expanding the collections, helping us increase our related knowledge. Contact us to find out more.

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