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The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership strengthens its link with the International Seed Testing Association

A Memorandum of Collaboration has been signed between the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership and the International Seed Testing Association. It will deepen our commitment to the maintenance and improvement of seed quality for research, agricultural and fore

Signing the ISTA MoC
President of ISTA, Joël Léchappé (right) signs the Memorandum of Collaboration, accompanied by Alison Powell (left), ISTA Executive member and Michael Muschick, ISTA Secretary General (Photo © ISTA)  

A mutually beneficial partnership

The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership focuses on the long term conservation and use of seeds of wild plants, crop relatives and forestry species. To further this goal, the evaluation and maintenance of seed quality is essential. Keeping seeds alive by optimising storage conditions is crucial if conserved seed collections are to be suitable for use. When seeds age, genetic damage accumulates and they lose the ability to germinate. Monitoring seed viability is therefore a vital part of seed bank management.

International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) members are committed to developing and establishing standard methods for sampling seeds and testing seed quality, accrediting seed testing laboratories and promoting research in all aspects of seed science and technology. The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership and ISTA have developed a close working relationship over a number of years. Conservationists from Kew's Millennium Seed Bank have participated in ISTA's technical committees and made presentations at ISTA seed symposia, and ISTA members have contributed to research programmes across the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership.

Safeguarding food security and plant diversity

The signing of this Memorandum of Collaboration will encourage greater communication, exchange of information and collaboration between the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership and its international partners, and ISTA member laboratories. It will foster a particular focus on wild plant species not currently covered by ISTA Rules, as well as crop relatives and forestry plant species, which are important in maintaining food security and plant diversity in the future.

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