Minister of Agriculture inspected the Turkish Seed Gene Bank

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry İbrahim Yumaklı stated that seeds belonging to the plant cover, which constitute all the richness of Turkish , are classified and analyzed in two seed gene banks located in Ankara and Izmir, saying, “We are preserving 120,000 genetic materials in our two gene banks.” According to the statement made by the Ministry, Yumaklı visited the Turkish Seed Gene Bank located in Ankara, which operates under the General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies (TAGEM) affiliated with the Ministry, and conducted inspections.

Yumaklı, who evaluated the activities of seed gene banks in the statement, stated that Turkiye seeds are preserved in seed gene banks.

Yumaklı, indicating that the seed gene banks in Ankara and Izmir operate as backups, provided the following information:

“The TurkiyeSeed Gene Bank is the third-largest gene bank in the world in terms of capacity. Here, we preserve both our past and our future. Seeds belonging to the plant cover that constitute all the richness of our country, from cereals to different types of plant varieties and wild species, are classified and analyzed in this gene bank. We are preserving 120,000 genetic materials in our two gene banks in Izmir and Ankara. We have a Seed Gene Bank that is referenced both nationally and internationally.”

Yumaklı stated that the bank also sheds light on the research, innovation, and developments of the academic community in Turkiye, expressing:

“In a period where the concept of food nationalism emerged for countries to ensure their food security in both conjunctural and different situations, the importance of this gene bank is much better understood. Considering the richness of the Anatolian geography, the importance of this gene bank will also be understood against any kind of adverse situation in the future. I wish success to the engineers working at the Turkiye Seed Gene Bank, our other colleagues, the academic community contributing to Turkish seed breeding, and all our colleagues who are stakeholders in seed breeding studies. I also thank them for their important efforts they have made.”

Turkiye Seed Gene Bank

The collection and preservation of genetic resources were initiated at the Ankara Field Crops Central Research Institute in 1988.

​​​​​​​The “Turkiye Seed Gene Bank,” which was inaugurated during the Prime Ministry of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the permanent preservation of seeds with all the materials collected and continuity provided, went into operation in 2010.

Established as a unit of the Institute, the Turkiye Seed Gene Bank conducts studies towards the identification, collection, preservation, characterization, and establishment of the gene pool to be used in breeding works of plant genetic resources in the country, and the provision of the material in question to research projects in appropriate amounts in international standards.

Within the scope of the bank’s activities, seminars and trainings are organized nationally/internationally to create awareness for the conservation of biological diversity and to transfer the experiences gained.

As of 2024, the institution directly conducts 4 TAGEM projects and participates as a researcher in projects of other departments and institutes.

The gene bank in Ankara includes a documentation unit, seed cleaning preparation unit, drying and packaging unit, 7 cold storage rooms, a seed physiology laboratory, 2 climate rooms, a plant molecular biology laboratory, and a herbarium.

Izmir Seed Gene Bank In 1964, work started at today’s Ege Agricultural Research Institute (ETAE) to survey, collect, preserve, and evaluate the plant species grown in the Southwest Asia countries, their wild relatives, and economically potential wild species under the International Regional Center establishment agreement signed between Turkiye and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for the conservation of plant genetic resources in the country.

With the entry into force of the Agricultural Research Project in 1995, the “Research Opportunity Area for Plant Genetic Resources and Plant Genetic Resources Database Establishment” programs have been conducted nationally under the “Plant Genetic Resources” research field.

While ETAE acts as the coordination center for these national programs, the Biological Diversity and Genetic Resources Department undertakes the coordination task.

The studies on plant genetic resources are carried out by groups of cereals, grain legumes, forage crops, industrial crops, vegetables, fruits and vineyards, ornamental plants, endemic species, and medicinal and aromatic plants in the main disciplines of survey, collection, systematics and taxonomy, preservation, and documentation.

source: prepared by Melisa Beğiç

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