Establishment of a Gene bank under government initiative is advancing slowly though many kinds of local species are being lost at speedy pace due mainly rapid use of chemical fertilizer and insecticides.
The National Institute of Biotechnology under the Ministry of Science and Technology is establishing an on-campus National Gene Bank at Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh. The project is expected to complete next year.
In a national level meeting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina decided and directed to establish such a bank in 2012 but the project would take another five years to complete, sources said.
“ Gene banks are a type of biorepository that preserves genetic material. For plants, this is done by in vitro storage, freezing cuttings from the plant, or stocking the seeds (e.g. in a seedbank). For animals, this is done by the freezing of sperm and eggs in zoological freezers until further need. With corals, fragments are taken and stored in water tanks under controlled conditions,” Dr, Md Abdul Alim, Deputy Director said.
Genetic material in a ‘gene bank’ is preserved in a variety of ways, such as freezing at -196° Celsius in liquid nitrogen, being placed in artificial ecosystems, and put in controlled nutrient mediums, he added.
Accession is the common term given to an individual sample in a gene bank, such as a distinct species or variety. In plants, it is possible to unfreeze the material and propagate it. However, in animals, a living female is required for artificial insemination. While it is often difficult to use frozen animal sperm and eggs, there are many examples of it being done successfully.
In an effort to conserve agricultural biodiversity, gene banks are used to store and conserve the plant genetic resources of major crop plants and their crop wild relatives.
The National Gene Bank will 1) establish a central source of plants, animals, fishes, microbes and biodiversity components; and 2) provide the collected samples and information to various research and development institutes and users.
Moreover, the Gene Bank will contribute to human resource development, public awareness, and guidelines and principles on the use of the gene pool. It will preserve seed, planting materials, semen, embryo, egg, sperm, cell, chromosomes and DNA, RNA, protein of plants, animals, fishes and microbes for various durations. In vitro conservation and cryo-preservation facilities will also be established.