Scientists call for gene conservation on the premises

VietNamNet Bridge – The gene conservation of specialty plant varieties has been mostly carried out at labs. As a result, plant varieties gradually loss the natural development progress, and they can only maintain genes at some certain moments. Scientists believe that it is necessary to carry out the gene conservation in a large scale right at households.

Genetic resources are lost at a rapid rate

Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hue from the Plant Resources Center of the Vietnam Institute of Agricultural Science said that up to 80% of genetic resources in localities no more exist outside the production.

Dr Le Dinh Luong from the Institute of Microbiology and Biotechnology, a unit of the Hanoi National University, said that the unreasonable techniques in preserving seeds have been attributed to the decline in the genetic resources.

When plants are grown in other places, they would have to get adapted to the new living environment with the changes in the weather, ground and care conditions. Moreover, as plants remain too young, they cannot give high productivity like the plants grown in the home places. As such, the lower quality of products should not be attributed to the gene degeneration, but to the changes in the living environment.

Dr Duong Duc Tien, Director of the Center of Biotechnology Center for Life and Production, also said that different ecological conditions and different pH levels would create different results of fruits. This explains why people would get products with different quality when growing the same plant varieties on different soils.

Plants would stop evolving if they are brought to labs

Dr Hue cited the survey conducted by the Vietnam Plant Resources Center as saying that some 30 projects on plantation gene conservation on the premises have been carried out so far, but the projects have not been effective, because they were not associated with the production.

Hue stressed that the gene preservation needs to be associated with the exploitation and development in order to improve the productivity for farmers.

To date, scientists have been trying to preserve genes by collecting the genetic resources which are in the danger of getting lost and preserving at gene banks. This method allows to preserve the genes, but when plants are brought to labs, their evolutionary process would stop, which does not bring benefits to farmers.

Scientists have suggested that the best method is to preserve genes right at households’ farms. If so, the plants would be preserved, while the plants would continue their evolutionary process. This method would allow to both preserve the genes and maintain the good characteristics of the varieties.

According to the scientists, to date, only Tien Vua rau muong (water morning glory--a kind of popular vegetable) and Que Duong pomelo have been preserved under the projects on gene conservation. Meanwhile, many other precious genes have not got appropriate attention for preservation.

It’s not difficult to rescue specialty plant varieties

Dr Tran The Tuc, former Head of the Central Research Institute of Vegetables and Fruits, has warned that the quality specialty plants, such as oranges and pomelos in Tu Liem district of Hanoi, would degrade if the plants do not get proper care and people only try to increase the productivity, while do not care much about the quality.

Tuc said that it is not difficult to rescue specialty plant varieties. It is necessary to select the best seeds and apply advanced techniques in farming in order to obtain the best products.

Meanwhile, Dr Le Dinh Luong has suggested applying clonal methods as extraction, grafting, cuttings and tissue culture, which would allow to preserve the genetic quality.

Professor Tran Dinh Long has urged to recover the plant varieties which have been degenerating. It is also necessary to give geographical indications about what plants should be grown in what areas.