Is cryopreservation a viable method for long-term conservation of coffee biodiversity?
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This brief summarizes the findings of the 2008 study carried out by Bioversity International and its partners that investigated two major issues relating to conservation of coffee germplasm: 1. What are the real threats to and losses of coffee germplasm held globally in field genebanks? 2. How do the costs of cryopreservation compare with those of maintaining coffee field collections for long-term conservation? The study shows that the costs of cryopreservation should not be considered prohibitive to establishing duplicate, back-up collections of coffee. If cryopreservation is adopted as a complement to field genebanks, the costs of cryopreservation must be added to existing costs of field conservation. However, field collections could be reduced and at least partly between cryopreservation and field collection to ensure the longterm, cost-efficient conservation of coffee genetic resources. This study investigated coffee as a test case, but the results are relevant to other species that are difficult to conserve using the traditional method of seed drying and low-temperature storage. The underlying objective of the study was to assess the potential impact of the widespread adoption of cryopreservation for more species and in more genebanks
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