Preservation of fruit genetic resources in Germany
The preservation of fruit genetic resources has a long-lasting tradition in Germany. It dates back to the early decades of the 20th century. Ever since, a multitude of cultivars of different fruit crop species is preserved in federal and state governmental institutions as well as in communities and towns, non-governmental organizations, and by private individuals. The German Fruit Genebank has been established as a decentralized network with the aim to coordinate the preservation in the different germplasm collections in Germany to minimize the risk of losing cultivars of fruit species and therefore to maintain a part of the cultural heritage. Currently, the German Fruit Genebank is composed of six species-specific networks consisting of 48 different collections. In addition to the cultivar collections, the Fruit genebank of the Institute of Breeding Research on Fruit Crops, Dresden-Pillnitz includes collections of crop wild relatives of the fruit species important for fruit production in Central Europe. Special emphasis is given on the genera Malus and Fragaria representing 46 and 22 taxa respectively. These accessions are valued for their diverse alleles but also for their specific genotypes. Different cryopreservation protocols were elaborated. For Fragaria a protocol combining vitrification with cold acclimation and for Malus a protocol based on dormant winter buds can now be realistically used to build up a Cryo bank as a duplicate collection. Based on the results provided, a combination of the traditional ex situ conservation approach and cryopreservation approach has a great potential to improve conservation of fruit genetic resources contributing to the National Program for Genetic Resources of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops in Germany.