Diversity and protectionism. Use of genebanks: trends and interpretations

This paper charts the history of plant genetic resource acquisition and transfer giving an insight into the reasons for the original proliferation of genebank collections and the subsequent decline of many. The picture it paints of the current state of the management of genetic resources is fairly bleak with too many below standard, poorly resourced genebanks neglected by governments and failing to fulfil their original mandate to either provide materials for breeders, or to conserve materials in the long-term. The author outlines a list of future priorities which might be seen as providing a more relevant mandate for genebanks.