Though the intrinsic value to society of plant genetic resources conserved in genebanks may be recognized, assigning a cardinal value to them remains elusive. This chapter summarises the main messages from applied economics literature on genebank values that began in the late 1990s, a recent set of studies undertaken by the CGIAR Genebank Platform and Crop Diversity Trust, and assessments of national genebanks. Three points are salient: the value of information; the demand for a diversity of approaches to document the diversity of ways that genebanks benefit society; and the need to establish priorities for collecting and conservation based on cost-effectiveness. Cost-effectiveness will require a) carefully targeted investments in characterization, evaluation, and genotyping, along with management of the resulting data, and its use to develop packages of breeder- and researcher-oriented materials, and b) investment in supportive research and various organizational optimization procedures, including automation.
Table of contents
2 Past research on genebanks
3 Current research on genebanks
4 Future trends in research
6 Where to look for further information