The 29th International Horticultural Congress | Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes | 17-22 August 2014
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Welcome to the 4th International Symposium on Plant Genetic Resources: Genetic Resources for Climate Change

The Symposium will be co-convened by ISHS, Global Crop Diversity Trust and Griffith University and has been endorsed by the ISHS Commissions on Nomenclature and Cultivar Registration and Molecular Biology and in-vitro Culture as well as ISHS Section Tropical and Subtropical Fruits.

Genetic diversity on farm helps to increase the resilience against climate change effects. Photo credit: SPC

Within the framework of the 29th International Horticultural Congress to be held in Brisbane, Australia in 2014, the 3-day Symposium on Genetic Resources for Climate Change will provide a forum to present and discuss the latest research on strategies and technologies for plant genetic resources characterization, conservation and use.

The symposium’s focus will be on the importance of plant genetic diversity for increased resilience to climate change, and will include discussions on international instruments, novel approaches to conservation and use, and community-based initiatives. Contributions are welcomed from all sectors working with plant genetic resources with a view to broadening the discussion and the exchange of ideas to inform horticultural practice for climate change. This may include botanical gardens and herbaria, seed collectors and suppliers, seed banks, government agencies, ornamental and medicinal plant industries, community groups, public education and awareness groups as well as the broader agro-forestry industry and the nutrition sector.

Topics will include the following themes:

  • Germplasm conservation strategies and technologies.
    This will include ex situ and in situ conservation strategies, including living village collections. Contribution will also be invited that address taxonomic identification for the development of appropriate strategies for threatened taxa.
  • Harnessing the diversity of crop wild relatives.
    Crop wild relatives can provide important genetic resources to major (horticultural) crops in terms of resistance to extreme conditions. This theme will cover the characterization, benefits, protection and use of crop wild relative genetic resources.
  • Utilization of plant genetic resources.
    Are there examples where utilization of diversity has helped increase peoples’ resilience to climate change? What was needed? What were the key criteria for success?


Dr Hannah Jaenicke, Chair, ISHS Commission Plant Genetic Resources and former Director, International Centre for Underutilised Crops, Germany.

Dr Mary Taylor, Chair, ISHS Working Group Underutilized Plants and former Manager, Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Fiji.

Dr Luigi Guarino, Senior Science Coordinator, Global Crops Diversity Trust, Italy.

Dr Sarah Ashmore, Environmental Futures Centre, Griffith University and Queensland Representative, Australian Seed Bank Partnership.

Dr Ehsan Dulloo is the Programme Leader for the Conservation and Availability Programme of Bioversity International. He provides scientific leadership for in situ conservation of crop wild relatives and on farm conservation and oversight on the policy and informatics work.

Keynote Speakers

Theme 1: Germplasm conservation strategies and technologies

Dr. Ehsan Dulloo, Bioversity International. Ehsan Dulloo is currently the Leader of the Conservation and Availability Programme at Bioversity International. He provides scientific leadership for in situ conservation of crop wild relatives and on farm conservation and oversight on the policy and informatics work of Bioversity. He first joined Bioversity in 1999 as a scientist and has been responsible in providing scientific leadership for the ex situ conservation and use of agricultural biodiversity. He also worked for FAO as Senior officer for plant genetic resources between 2011 to 2012. His major research interests include development of cost effective technologies including low cost seed conservation, and in vitro and cryopreservation methods, for the safe conservation of agricultural biodiversity including crop wild relatives, genebank management, role of genebanks in adapting to climate change, as well as in the development of genetic diversity indicator to monitor the status and trend of genetic diversity of major socio-economic crops. He has been a lead author for the preparation of FAO first and second State of the World Reports on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment report. Before joining Bioversity, Dr Dulloo led two GEF projects to restore degraded islands around Mauritius and developed Mauritius’ first National Park. Dr Dulloo is a member of the Plant Sub-Committee of IUCN/SSC and co-chair the Crop Wild Relative Specialist Group.

Theme 2: Harnessing the diversity of crop wild relatives

Dr. Hannes Dempewolf, Global Crop Diversity Trust. Hannes Dempewolf is a scientist at the Trust and mainly works in the framework of the Trust's project "Adapting agriculture to climate change: collecting, protecting and preparing crop wild relatives." He has a particular interest in exploring ways in which crop wild relatives and landrace diversity can be used in breeding programs more effectively by better linking genebanks to breeders (and vice versa). He strongly believes that agricultural biodiversity, as a foundation for crop improvement, is of key importance to meeting the globe's food security needs and feels that much progress can be made by more efficiently tapping the world's common plant genetic inheritance that is stored in genebanks, farmer's field and in the wild. Hannes has studied Botany at the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh in Scotland and completed his PhD training at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He has been involved in and lead various research projects on plant genetic resources in Peru, the Caribbean, southern Kenya and Ethiopia in the past. His scientific interest focuses on the evolution, maintenance and conservation of agro-biodiversity, the importance of such diversity for farming communities and the role it can play for sustainable development and food security.

Theme 3: Utilization of plant genetic resources

Dr. Vincent Lebot, CIRAD. Vincent Lebot is a plant breeder and geneticist working for CIRAD (International Centre for Agronomic Research and Development). He has been working on tropical root and tuber crops (cassava, yam, sweet potato, aroids) for the last 33 years and was the scientific coordinator of SPYN (the South Pacific Yam Network) and TANSAO (the Taro Network for South East Asia and Oceania). He is presently coordinating the International Network for Edible Aroids (INEA; His work focuses on the genetic improvement, through traditional breeding, of root crops nutritional value and quality and on strengthening smallholders capacity to adapt to climate changes through the geographic distribution of allelic diversity.

Scientific Committee

  • Dr. Sarah Ashmore (Australia)
  • Dr. Janet Cubey (UK)
  • Dr. Ehsan Dulloo (Italy)
  • Dr. Dave Ellis (Peru)
  • Dr. Luigi Guarino (Italy)
  • Dr. Kim Hummer (USA)
  • Dr. Hannah Jaenicke (Germany)
  • Dr. Maria Jenderek (USA)
  • Dr. Maurizio Lambardi (Italy)
  • Prof. Sisir Mitra (India)
  • Prof. Normah Mohd Noor (Malaysia)
  • Dr. Mary Taylor (UK)
  • Dr. Jane Toll (Italy)
  • Dr. Barbara Reed (USA)
  • Prof. Qixiang Zhang (China)