Methods and progress in the conservation of elm genetic resources in Europe

E. Collin, M. Rusanen, L. Ackzell, J. Bohnens, A. de Aguiar, S. Diamandis, A. Franke, L. Gil, L. Harvengt, P. Hollingsworth, G. Jenkins, A. Meier-Dinkel, L. Mittempergher, B. Musch, L. Nagy, M. Pâques, J. Pinon, D. Piou, P. Rotach, A. Santini, A. Vanden Broeck, H. Wolf

Abstract


The progress made in the conservation of European elm genetic resources since the 1st International Elm Conference is reviewed, and the complementarity of in situ and ex situ methods is discussed. The financial support of the European Union to RESGEN project CT96-78 has permitted to co-ordinate and rationalize the ex situ conservation of elms. The project, which involved 17 partner institutes in nine west European countries, aimed at a better evaluation, conservation and utilisation of the existing collections of native elm clones. Main achievements are: establishing a common database of about 2,000 clones; characterizing over 500 clones through RAPDs and chloroplast DNA PCR-RFLPs molecular markers; completing and rationalizing the existing collections; establishing a long-term core collection of 850 clones; cryo-preserving a subset of 444 clones; and identifying clones of interest for breeding and prudent use in the reconstruction of countryside hedges. The «Noble Hardwoods» network of the pan-European programme EUFORGEN groups members representative of 31 countries, and promotes the dynamic conservation of the genetic resources of several genera of broadleaf forest trees, including Ulmus spp. Strategies for the conservation of the adaptive potential of elm resources were defined and will be disseminated among foresters and conservationists through «Guidelines» leaflets. Some countries have already started implementing conservation measures for U. laevis, associating in situ preservation and the establishment of seed orchards. Others are undertaking inventories, or acquiring genetic knowledge on target populations.

Keywords


vegetative propagation; international co-operation; Ulmus

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