The problems of ex situ genetic conservation at the universities in developing countries: lesson learn from Universitas Gadjah Mada

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Agriculture faces enormous challenges for providing sufficient food, feed and fuel raw materials for a growing global population. In the case of food, for instance, global food production must always increase to meet the projection of continuously increase of global food demand. The future challenges of food supply and demand can be addressed by diversification of food sources, introducing high yielding cultivars and improving culture techniques. Food sources can be diversified by collection and evaluation of genetic resources for nutritive values. In contrast, new varieties can be developed through breeding activities that also require genetic resource as genetic material. Genetic resources spread around the world, and to optimally utilize, genetic resource must be explored and conserved both by in situ and ex situ approaches. The genetic resource exploration through missions requires proper preparation including human resources, logistics and time allocations. Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) as a higher education institution has three big university missions, i.e. education, research and community service through student involvement. These three missions through student involvement have been applied to conduct the genetics resource exploration and ex situ conservation. The course of genetic resource collection and management has been introduced at different faculties, and because community service at the rural area for two-month times is compulsory for the student, UGM makes use of student to carry out genetic resource exploration and collection. The student must collect the passport data for the genetic resources and send the data to the Agriculture Innovation Center (AIC). In case that seed of genetic material can be found, student must collect also seeds and send to AIC for ex situ conservation. Based on UGM experience, ex situ conservation, especially seed genebank, faced sustainability problem due to insufficient human and funding resources. UGM integrates some approaches such as crop focusing, networking, student involvement in the characterization and evaluation, and breeding activities to solve such problems.
genetic resources, in situ and ex situ conservation, student involvement. 1.