Global Conservation Strategy for Fragaria (Strawberry)

Scripta Horticulturae Number 6
Publication date: 
March, 2008
Page count: 
€ 30 not including shipping & handling, 20% discount for ISHS members

Global Conservation Strategy for Fragaria (Strawberry); A consultative document prepared in collaboration with partners in the Fragaria germplasm, genetics research-and-development community.

In 2005, about 3.6 million MT of strawberries, Fragaria L., were produced in 75 countries. Strawberry species have a complex background including natural diploid, tetraploid, pentaploid, hexaploid and octoploid genomes. Centers for strawberry species diversity include Eurasia and North and South America. The primary cultivated gene pool is octoploid and the hybrid berry that dominates the commercial market has only been developed within the last 350 years. Wild species distributions are limited and landraces may be lost with encroachment of human development. Molecular geneticists are beginning to realize the advantage of working with Fragaria and its small-sized genome. Breeders plan to incorporate new sources of wild plant material to expand the restricted cultivated genepool. Vulnerable wild collections have been identified for future collection and preservation efforts. Internationally, 27 countries and two genebank networks, maintain more than 12,000 accessions in about 57 locations. Roughly half of these represent advanced breeding lines of the cultivated hybrid strawberry, F. ×ananassa, some of which are proprietary.

It's estimated that in addition to public collections, global private corporations also maintain a similar amount of proprietary cultivated hybrids for internal use. Primary collections at national genebanks consist of living plants, protected in containers in greenhouses or screenhouses, or in the field. Secondary backup collections are maintained in vitro under refrigerated temperatures. Long-term backup collections of meristems are placed in cryogenic storage at remote locations to provide decades of security. Species diversity is represented by seed lots stored in -18 °C or backed up in cryogenics. Conservation of vegetatvely propagated material is more complicated and expensive than that of crops that are maintained in the form of seed. The health status of both forms of storage is key for safe global distributions to meet plant quarantine regulations. An international expert committee meeting was held from July 5 to 8, 2006, at the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Clonal Gemplasm Repository, NCGR, Corvallis, Oregon, United States. "Global Conservation Strategy for Strawberry" is based on a strawberry genebank questionnaire completed by 37 responders from 27 countries, about one third of the total countries reporting annual production to FAO (FAO, 2007), provided specific information concerning their collections. From published journals, it is expected that additional major collections are located in China, although no responses were received from collections there. The committee suggested that the development of two country genebanks be supported in China and Chile. A granting system for improved health of strawberries in genebanks should be supported. Limited resources are constraining genebanks from sufficient personnel, secure backup, adequate facilities, and equipment. Training of genebank staff in standard protocols is needed. Coordination of characterization data and web accessible database listing of strawberry genetic resources should also be supported.

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