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The plant genetic resources (PGR) programme is one of the research progarmmes of the Agricultural Research Corporation (ARC) in Sudan. It is the only programme in the country with the mandate of collection, conservation, evaluation and documentation of the local genetic resources of agricultural plant crops in Sudan. It was initiated in the early 1980s as a unit within the Horticultural Research Section of the ARC for the conservation of the local genetic resources of horticultural crops. It has been developed into a separate programme since 1995 when a process for programme restructuring in the ARC was started. The programme is being executed at present through the Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) Unit within the ARC.

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The overall general objective of the PGR programme is to conserve the plant agro-biodiversity in Sudan against deterioration and loss, and to enhance the sustainable use of such diversity in the areas of scientific research, genetic improvement, training and germplasm restoration into the original farming systems. Such broad objective is being addressed through the following specific objectives:

  1. Collection and ex-situ conservation of samples from the local farmers’ varieties of crops and their wild relatives, as well as breeders' lines.
  2. Enhancement of utilization through characterization, and evaluation for the main desirable characters such as productivity and resistance against pests and diseases.
  3. Documentation of the data and information relevant to THESE genetic resources in a manner that facilitates their retrieval, analysis and use.
  4. Protection of the national rights on the local genetic resources through contribution into building and implementing national system and mechanisms that regulate the access to genetic resources and provide for equitable and fair sharing of benefits arising from their utilization.

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The PGR programme in the ARC is being operated through a PGR Unit, which is run by a number of specialized technical staff. The unit is equipped with facilities for a seed genebank in Wad Medani, which is used for the long term preservation of the collected seed samples.  The storage capacity of the seed genebank at present is about 450 cubic feet in 22 deep freeze chests. A field genebank for the conservation of banana genetic resources has been established in Kassala area of eastern Sudan within Kassala and Gash Agricultural Research Station. A nucleus for a regional seed genebank has been established in El Obeid in western Sudan within El Obeid Agricultural Research Station for the conservation of an active collection of the crop genetic resources collected from western Sudan viz Kordofan and Darfur regions.

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A total of more than 12000 accessions are preserved at present in the seed genebank of the PGR Unit in Wad Medani. They are composed of seed samples that have been collected from different crops in different parts of the country. They include field crops such as sorghum, pearl millet, sesame, groundnut and a number of leguminous crops, in addition to horticultural crops such as okra, melons, watermelon, hot pepper, and Roselle. More than 300 accessions of banana are being conserved as well in the banana field genebank in Kassala.

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At present the PGR programme in the ARC is using a genebank documentation system operated through a genebank data management tool called SESTO for documenting and accessing both the passport and management data. SESTO is a genebank data management tool, developed by the former Nordic Gene Bank (now the Nordic Genetic Resource Centre) with the purpose to document the genetic variation in Nordic material from plant species used in agriculture and horticulture. The characterization data are documented using the Microsoft Office Software Ex-cell. The genebank documentation system (SESTO) is installed in a main server that is accessed through a local network of computers within the PGR Unit of the ARC in Wad Medani Town. The passport data of the collections held by the PGR Unit can be accessed through the EAPGREN Data Portal in which data in SESTO-Sudan are uploaded. It is worth mentioning here that the SESTO has been adopted as a tool for PGR documentation and data management by the Eastern Africa Plant Genetic Resources Network (EAPGREN) of which Sudan is a member among eight countries. The Nordic Genetic Resource Centre (Nordgen) provides technical backstopping for EAPGREN on different PGR aspects including the documentation and information management.

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Main activities being conducted within the mandate of the PGR Unit include the following:

    • Conducting missions for collection of local crop genetic resources from different geographical regions in Sudan.
    • Maintenance of the collected material under ex-situ conservation conditions through seed storage in deep freeze chests at -20ºC, or material planting in the field for vegetative-propagated species such as banana. 
    • Characterization of the conserved material using the international descriptor lists published by the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), or descriptor lists developed by the PGR programme for those crops without international descriptor lists.
    • Studying the genetic diversity at the DNA level in collaboration with the specialized laboratories.
    • Multiplication and regeneration of the conserved material under conditions that maintain the genetic integrity of the accessions and produce good quality seeds for conservation and utilization.
    • Evaluation of the germplasm for some desirable traits in collaboration with scientists in the relevant research programmes.
    • Documentation of data and information on the conserved germplasm using both manual and computerized tools.
    • Providing access to the genetic resources and the associated information according to the national and international regulations in this regard.
    • Participation in national activities aiming at raising awareness and building capacity on matters related to biodiversity conservation, and regulation of access to the indigenous genetic resources and related knowledge.

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    The following achievements have been realized by the programme so far:

      • Establishment of a central seed genebank in Wad Medani, and a nucleus for a regional seed genebank in El Obeid in western Sudan, in addition to a field genebank for banana at Kassala in eastern Sudan.
      • Recruitment and training of a number of qualified personnel at different levels, including Ph. D., M. Sc and B. Sc., for the programme.
      • Collection and conservation of more than 1 2 000 accessions from different crop species grown in Sudan.
      • Characterization of more than 60% of the germplasm under conservation.
      • Initiating activities on germplasm evaluation for desirable characters in collaboration with scientists in related programmes. Examples for that are evaluation of melon germplasm for fungal and viral disease resistance, and evaluation of sorghum germplasm for resistance against Striga, some insects and drought.
      • Facilitating of access to passport data on present genetic resources collections through the Data Portal of EAPGREN and the website of the ARC, as well as the on-line publication of a sorghum genetic resources catalogue.
      • Initiation and conducting of, as well as participation in a number of activities at national level aiming at awareness raising, and development of necessary policies and legislation including a proposed national legislation on Plant Genetic Resources in Sudan (2011).
      • Establishment of links with some national, regional and international organizations / institutes working in the field of PGR, including membership in the Eastern Africa Plant Genetic Resources Network (EAPGREN), and Near east and North Africa Plant Genetic resources Network (NENAPGRN), for which the ARC, Sudan is acting as a coordinator. 

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      The present PGR Unit is considered as a nucleus for a national plant genetic resources programme for the cultivated plant species under the umbrella of the ARC. It is conceived as a centrally coordinated programme with a central genebank facility, to which five regional units in the different geographical regions will be attached. The central genebank will be responsible for the base collection of the germplasm under conservation, while the regional units will be equipped with small genebank units for the conservation of the active collections for those accessions collected from within the regions. Germplasm collection, multiplication, regeneration, characterization and preliminary evaluation will be the responsibility of the regional units. Some specialized laboratories should be attached to the central genebank such as an in-vitro conservation facility and molecular biology laboratory. A national PGR documentation system is to be established and administered from the centre. Access to the germplasm and associated information will be controlled by the centre. Establishment of in-situ conservation activities will be a shared responsibility between the centre and the regional units.
      To establish such a comprehensive national programme there is a need to strengthen and expand on the capacity of the present unit with qualified personnel, transportation facilities, genebank facilities, laboratory equipment and buildings.

 

c SESTO-Sudan
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c Clearing House Mechanism of Sudan
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Plant Genetic Resources Programme Five years Plan 2015-2019
c Download Germplasm request form
c Download Information request form
c Download Sorghum Catalogue
 

CONSERVATION OF CROP GRs

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 Team Leader

  Dr. EL TAHIR IBRAHIM MOHAMED

 

 

ENHANCEMENT OF UTILIZATION OF CEREAL GENETIC RESOURCES

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 Team Leader

  AWADELKARIM ALAMELHUDA AHMED

 

 

ENHANCEMENT OF UTILIZATION OF OIL CROPS GRs

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 Team Leader

ALI ZAKARIA BABIKER

 

 

ENHANCEMENT OF UTILIZATION OF VEGETABLES AND MEDICINAL AND AROMATIC PLANTS GRs

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 Team Leader

 MASHAER OBAED YOUSIF

 

ENHANCEMENT OF UTILIZATION OF GRs OF VEGETATIVE PROPAGATED FRUIT SPECIES

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 Team Leader

ELSADIG AHMED ABDALLA

 

 

 

Address
Plant Genetic Resources Unit,
Agricultural Research Corporation,
P. O. Box 126,
Wad Medani,
Sudan
+249-912536114 (Mobile)
Fax: +249-511-843213
E. Mail: eltahir81@yahoo.com