Tree Germplasm Characterization and Evaluation

Germplasm characterization is the recording of distinctly identifiable traits that are highly heritable. Such traits are identified through morphological, biochemical or molecular genetic characterisation. The Genebank undertakes morphological characterisation of seed, fruits and trees. Nutritional, phytochemical and molecular genetic characterization employs specific markers to identify unique traits. The Genebank collaborates with ICRAF Molecular Laboratory for molecular genetic characterisation. The Genebank collaborates with various partners for nutritional and phytochemical characterisation.

Germplasm evaluation refers to the assessment of traits of agronomic significance important in tree domestication and improvement that may be influenced by environment. Evaluation generates data that enables the genebank to match users with the most suitable accessions or with information that will allow them to select site-specific accessions or species.

The main goal of characterizing accessions is to facilitate utilization of germplasm by end users as well as ensuring that the unique germplasm is conserved by:

  • describing and establishing accessions diagnostic characteristics
  • classifying accessions into groups
  • assessing the interrelationships among accessions or among traits, and among geographic groups of accessions
  • estimating the extent of variation within taxa in the genebank collection
  • identifying duplicates in the collection