Genebank to help in fight against climate change

05 December 2014

Australia’s first national pasture and forage genetic resource centre was launched this week which will see the collection and preservation of Australian pasture genetics.

The Australian Pastures Genebank is located in Adelaide and will house more than 70,000 varieties of pasture and forage species.

The collection will include seeds of important pasture species that have been bred and/or collected for use in Australia. Seeds from tropical, mediterranean and temperate regions will form part of the collection.

MLA Feedbase Manager Linda Hygate said the genebank was an important investment for MLA on behalf of producers, to ensure the diversity of Australia’s current and prospective pasture and forage species was conserved.

“Australia has the world’s largest unique collection of pasture and forage genetic resources from across the world," Linda said.

"Many of these genetic resources have come through visits to many countries with the sole purpose of collecting pasture species with the potential to add value to Australia’s livestock industries and help overcome challenges from a changing climate.

“Having such a diverse base of plant genetics will be critical to helping researchers pinpoint pastures which are drought-tolerant, tolerate pressure from pests and diseases, are adaptable to changing environmental conditions and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Preserving these assets in a well-resourced, well-catalogued central collection is critical to assuring access to plant genetic diversity going forward.”

The genebank also helps meet Australia’s obligations to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture by making the contents of the genebank accessible worldwide.

The South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) will manage the centre, with support from all state governments.

The genebank is funded by MLA, the Grains Research and Development Corporation and Australian Wool Innovation, Dairy Australia and the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.

Read more about the Australian Pastures Genebank here

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