Philippine Science Letters
vol. 4 | no. 1 | 2011
published online March 25, 2011


REVIEW


Development and utilization of
the PhilRice Genebank


by Gabriel O. Romero*, Roel C. Rabara, Evelyn B. Gergon, Ma. Cristina V. Newingham, Celia L. Diaz, Marilyn C. Ferrer, and Eric S. Nazareno



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Germplasm materials are the building blocks for the construction of improved rice varieties. However, as farmers turn to few modern varieties, extant germplasm undergoes a narrowing of diversity. There is therefore a great need to conserve the rice biodiversity found in nature and also those developed through plant breeding. Ex-situ conservation in genebanks provides a safe storage system for the germplasm. It is also important to have a systematic and sufficient characterization of these materials. In selecting plants for breeding, information on their morpho-agronomic traits, grain quality, and reaction to pests and diseases are primary considerations. As more information is available about the germplasm, the wider selection and diversity of materials can be utilized for varietal improvement. In PhilRice Genebank, rice germplasm are collected, conserved, and evaluated to support plant breeding programs. Emphasis is on conserving Philippine traditional varieties to safeguard this natural heritage. The Genebank holds around 11,000 collections of landrace varieties, foreign introductions, hybrid parental lines, and wild rices that can be used in developing new varieties for famers or directly utilized by other clienteles. From its establishment, the Genebank has undertaken many steps to improve rice genebanking procedures and provide requestors high quality seeds with optimum viability.