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Coconut germplasm collecting, characterisation and conservation in Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu : Project LOA IPGRI 00/015, March 2000-February 2001. Final report

Labouisse J.P., Bourdeix R.. 2003. Santo : VARTC, 126 p..

The project aims to initiate the survey and the collecting of available diversity of local coconut populations in Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu. The survey is based on fanner participatory methods and will be useful to create national databases on coconut genetic resources. The conservation of valuable germplasm is done thanks to the collecting of embryos which are intended to be transferred to the International Coconut Genebank for the South Pacific (hosted by Papua New Guinea), and the establishment of ex situ genebanks in the participating countries. This report gives details of the activities carried out between June 1999 and December 2001 (training course on standardised techniques of coconut genetic resources management, reports of the visits of CIRAD coconut breeders in participating countries) and of the project achievements. Fourteen islands were surveyed, numerous types of coconut were identified and amongst them, 21 were described. 3300 cylinders with embryos were collected but, due to severe fungal and bacterial contamination and a low rate of germinated embryos, only 8% of the collected embryos have been transferred to PNG-ICG. Samples of leaves of 114 individual palms representing 22 populations were collected for molecular markers' analysis with a micro-satellites kit. After extraction and amplification, 53 palms (20 populations) were analysed. Tall coconuts of Kiribati, Tuvalu and Marshall can be grouped in a Micronesian sub-group of the Pacific Group. Tall coconut of Tuvalu is the most homogeneous group. Coconuts of Cook Islands can be aggregated to Polynesian sub-group. It is proved now that Marshall Islands Green Dwarf has been largely spread in the Micronesian countries.

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