Plant genetic resources of asparagus - maintenance, taxonomy and availability

U. Lohwasser, A. Börner
Asparagus is a very important vegetable worldwide with increasing production area but low number of genetic resources in gene banks. Germplasm collections contain more than 7.4 million accessions of plant genetic resources. Wheat represents the biggest group (856,168 accessions) followed by rice and barley but only 1,284 samples of 63 Asparagus species are maintained. All the collections comprise wild and primitive forms, landraces as well as old and more recent cultivars of cultivated plants. The largest Asparagus collections are in France (INRA) with 710 samples followed by USDA-ARS (USA) with 157 samples of 29 species. The German ex situ gene bank is one of the ten largest global collections worldwide with 151,000 accessions. But only 34 Asparagus accessions are available. In general, one of the big problems is the taxonomy of the samples. E.g., the French material is not determined. The gene pool of asparagus is very well known but if the accessions are not taxonomically described, the use for breeding is very difficult. And many of the species are not existing in gene banks or only with a very few number of accessions. A gap analysis would be helpful in order to start collecting missions. Another topic is the availability. Due to international regulations like International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and Nagoya Protocol, the access to material is getting more and more complicated. But nevertheless, screening of such collections shows a wide range of variability and gives the opportunity to find new breeding material.
Lohwasser, U. and Börner, A. (2018). Plant genetic resources of asparagus - maintenance, taxonomy and availability. Acta Hortic. 1223, 1-6
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1223.1
asparagus genetic resources, maintenance, availability, taxonomy

Acta Horticulturae