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NordGen’s mission is to conserve and promote the sustainable use of genetic diversity of Nordic farm animals, forests and plants that are important for our food production. The work with plants is our largest department. You can read more in the text below about why that is important. In the menu on the left, you can find more information about the genebank in Alnarp and our various departments.

For about 10,000 years, humans have been dealing with plant breeding. By crossing two plants with good properties, a new variety with even better properties can be produced. This work is ongoing still today and has enabled us to produce enough food to feed the world population.

But in modern agriculture, only a few highly processed cultivars are currently being used. And since plant breeding also means selecting the traits that are not interesting, today’s cultivated plants often have a narrow genetic basis. It has been found that varieties with narrow genetic basis can be completely eliminated by plant diseases. Because of this, the plant breeders need to use older plant species or related wild species in order to find traits for resistance to the disease in question. Not even advanced genetic engineering can replace the natural variation of genes and their interactions. Genetic diversity is irreplaceable and without it no plant breeding can take place.

Conserve and promote sustainable use

The most important task of NordGen Plants is to safeguard and facilitate the sustainable use of plant genetic resources that are important for agriculture in the Nordic countries. By doing so, we create the conditions for a more environmentally friendly agriculture that can better withstand diseases, climate change and at the same time produce more nutritious food.

Our work is done in several ways. In the menu on the left, you can read more about the genebank itself. This is where the freezers in which we preserve the Nordic cultural heritage are located, as well as the laboratories where we analyze genetic material. The seed laboratory sends out about 10,000 seed samples annually to researchers, plant breeders and others who need them. You can also read more about our in vitro and molecular laboratories as well as the challenges that our greenhouse staff faces when producing new seeds. A large part of the work within NordGen Plants takes place in various projects.

NordGen Plants is located in Alnarp outside Malmö, Sweden.