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.
CGN manages the genebank for plant genetic resources which stores over 23,000 varieties and wild populations. It ranges from commercial varieties, landraces and farmer varieties to wild varieties of crops from over 100 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.