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IRRI's International Rice Genebank: ensuring long-term preservation of rice genetic diversity

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Published on Sep 30, 2013

The International Rice Genebank, maintained by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI; http://irri.org), holds more than 117,000 types of rice, including modern and traditional varieties, and wild relatives of rice. It is the biggest collection of rice genetic diversity in the world. Countries from all over the world sent their rice to IRRI for safe keeping, and for sharing for the common public good.

Traditional varieties and the wild species of rice are being lost through genetic erosion. Farmers adopt new varieties, and cease growing the varieties that they have nurtured for generations and eventually lose these varieties.

Wild species are threatened with extinction as their habitats are destroyed by human disturbance. Future crop improvement needs the genetic variation from traditional varieties and related wild species to cope with the many biotic and abiotic stresses that challenge rice production around the world.

IRRI works to ensure the long-term preservation of rice biodiversity as a part of the global strategy for the conservation of rice genetic resources in partnership with national programs and regional and international organizations worldwide, including through the International Rice Genebank.

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