Global Strategy for the Conservation and use of Musa Genetic Resources

PDF Global Strategy for the Conservation...  PDF Summary booklet of the Global Strategy for the conservation and use of Musa genetic resources

This Global Strategy is developed by MUSA genetic resources and breeding experts within the framework of MusaNet - the Global Network for MUSA Genetic Resources, coordinated by Bioversity International, with member representatives from various banana research institutes and organizations that support Musa research.

MusaNet has the mandate to oversee the implementation and further development of the Strategy aiming at ensuring the long-term conservation Banana genetic resources and at strengthening the utilization of the genetic resources globally.

By the way, did you know that ...

In September 2017 Minister De Croo made funding available over the next four years to support the ‘Bioversity ITC banana collection’ at the KU Leuven...?

The Bioversity International MUSA Germplasm Transit Centre (ITC) is home to the world’s largest collection of banana germplasm.

Its mission is to contribute to the secure Long-Term Conservation of the entire banana genepool and hold the collection in trust for the benefit of future generations under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UNThe conserved germplasm is placed in the Multilateral System of Access and Benefit Sharing of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

The Global Strategy for the Conservation and use of Musa Genetic Resources includes recommendations and priorities indicated in several consultation processes following the 2006 version and particularly following the expertise of key groups represented, such as the Banana Regional Research Networks (BAPNET, BARNESA, Innovate Plantain, MusaLAC) and global networks such as ProMusa.

The Global Strategy covers numerous topics, with 12 chapters divided into 4 main parts:

- -  Plant DIVERSITY
- -  Plant IDENTITY 
- -  Plant MANAGEMENT and 
- -  Plant USE.

Each chapter contains the 3 sections:

- -  Where we are now 
- -  Where do we want to go, and
- -  How will we get there.

This essay will briefly focus on some Data & Information Management & Access aspects extracted from the Plant USE section.


Information Management

Where We Are Now

Numerous Musa collections have not been systematically documented and only limited amounts of characterization and evaluation data are currently available and remain scattered across multiple research sites and/or institutions. This lack of information prevents curators and other users from rationalizing collections, identifying specific accessions, understanding general characteristics of subgroups and optimizing the use of Musa diversity.

9.1.1 Ex situ Collections Data Management

The use of data management systems in collections has increased over the years but much still needs to be done to improve their use and potential. Collections maintain valuable materials but efficient ways of accessing information and the material are often lacking.

9.1.2 The Musa Germplasm Information System - MGIS

Since 1997, the Musa Germplasm Information System (MGIS)  has been developed, with the objective of collecting and sharing publicly available information for all Musa collections worldwide. It contains key information, including passport data, botanical classification, morpho-taxonomic descriptors, ploidy, somatic chromosome number, plant photographs, geo-referenced information and genetic studies based on molecular markers.

Information Management

- Where We Want To Go


In order to support the core activities of collections, they should have access to appropriate solutions for efficient management of their routine operations. Therefore, it is essential to increase data quality, data completeness and facilitate data capture with modern tools and appropriate standards. This could be done by:

i)   making available a set of tools that will facilitate an increase in data of the conserved genepool by providing a global view of the conserved genetic diversity and;

ii)   focusing on a subset of accessions and providing a catalogue of accessions well-documented for agronomic traits and in different environments and genetic background; thus promoting distribution and use.

Information Management

- How We Will Get There

Data quality and completion can be greatly enhanced by training and supporting collections with tools and standards. The release of a new version of MGIS desktop application supporting the exchange of data combined with development of user-friendly mobile applications for data capture can help reach this objective.

9.3.1 Improving Data Quality and Accuracy

Efforts are continuously made to improve data quality in MGIS and MusaNet members are collectively working to improve the quality of the data at the collection level.

9.3.2 Linking and complementing datasets

The ITC code (the number that identifies an accessions in the ITC global collection) is widely used and it should become standard practice to quote it for any germplasm under research and related publications.

9.3.3 From accession level to cultivar level

Breeders need information related to fertility, post-harvest qualities and use of cultivars elsewhere, which is not available in MGIS. The taxonomic reference set of cultivars may provide a starting point for gathering complementary data on quantitative traits, uses, etc. For instance, it has been proposed to provide information on the importance and value of the cultivar, including commercial and indigenous knowledge, post-harvest fruit quality, pests and diseases and other agronomic characteristics and performance. For that purpose, MGIS should be linked to other information resources such as Musapedia and the Musa Literature database, MusaLit.

9.3.5 Phenotyping and evaluation

Until now, evaluation data has been stored in MGIS as observations made by curators in their collections but not explicitly linked to the accessions. A first attempt was made with IMTP data that were stored in the Global Agricultural Trial Repository, but it unfortunately has limitations for interoperability.

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