COLLECTION AND CONSERVATION OF ALLIUM GENETIC RESOURCES: AN INDIAN PERSPECTIVE
These valuable collections, both indigenous and exotic, have been established, multiplied, and are in the process of evaluation and characterization at different locations. Some of them have been identified to be tolerant/resistant to diseases such as purple blotch (Alternaria sp.), stemphylium blight, and garlic mosaic virus (GMV). However, sources of resistance to many diseases and pests, e.g., neckrot (Botrytis allii), downy mildew (Peronospora destructor), basal rot (Fusarium sp.), and black mould (Aspergillus sp. and Penicillium rot) are yet to be identified. Collaborative efforts by relevant national programmes and international centres are urgently needed for this purpose.
This paper reviews the ongoing activities relating to collection and conservation of genetic resources of Allium in India and indicates some gaps that require urgent attention. The need for germplasm enhancement and also for promotion, characterization, utilization, and conservation of collections is discussed. The NBPGR could play an effective lead role in the region, in view of available expertise and recently developed facilities for medium- and long-term conservation, including in vitro repository and cryopreservation.