Mission and Objectives
Biological diversity, i.e., genetic diversity of living organisms and the diversity within different species, as well as the diversity between species and ecosystems, are important resources for human existence. Population growth imposes a continuous increase in the food consumption which causes agricultural production growth and improves the quality of nutrition through creation of new, highly productive cultivars and breeds of domestic animals, on a genetic basis. The diverse genetic material is essential for genetic creation of highly productive cultivars and breeds of good quality.
Wild plant species, wild relatives of cultivated plants, ecotypes, the old (traditional, autochthonous) cultivars as well as indigenous breeds of domestic animals, are all growing less in number and disappearing from nature, but they are replaced by the newly made cultivars and breeds. To avoid the permanent loss of important genotypes of cultivated plants and breeds of animals, such material is collected, described and preserved in the gene banks around the world. At the same time, this material, preserved and well described, is an excellent starting point (base collection) for a genetic creation and creation of new highly productive cultivars of plants and breeds of domestic animals in order to provide food for the human race.
The conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources are important parts of the sustainability strategy and the development of every society. Genetic resources are important not only in terms of providing food, medicines and other products to the population but they also represent a cultural and historical heritage of the mankind and the intrinsic value of nature itself. The value of genetic resources is an invaluable source of diversity for all those who exploit them in a sustainable way.
The Republic of Srpska has significant diversity in cultivated and wild organisms and it can even be acknowledged as a gene centre for certain species (species whose wild relatives can be found in situ conditions). Throughout history, the territory of the present day Republic of Srpska, as a part of BiH, has been under the influences of different civilizations. A great deal of foreign germplasm entered the territory of BiH from the east and west. The introduced germplasm participated in the creation of new autochthonous varieties by means of planned hybridization and selection. However, due to the absence of systematic research in the past and despite the fact that this area could have been marked as the primary gene centre for some species, virtually nothing about it is mentioned in the foreign literature.
If we take into account the diversity of agro-ecological conditions and impacts of different civilizations throughout history, we can say that the Republic of Srpska is rich in agrobiodiversity and it can be regarded as a gene centre of a number of cultivated species. This statement has been confirmed by the researches conducted in this small area since 2004 where a great number of different accessions were found. Such a rich flora has not yet been the subject of systematic research and therefore it is necessary to establish a functioning system for the sustainable management of plant genetic resources of the Republic of Srpska.
- conservation of ecotype diversity, old cultivars and hybrids and their wild relatives in in situ and ex situ conditions through the following: an inventory of genetic resources of agricultural, horticultural and forest plants, a review of existing collections and evaluation of genetic diversity of collections, collection and evaluation of new genotypes;
- development of the gene bank in the Republic of Srpska through classical methods of characterization and the use of molecular marker techniques;
- encouraging sustainable use of genetic resources through on-farm management;
- conservation and restoration of ecosystems altered due to modern agricultural production and introduction of new cultivars and hybrids and genetically modified plant material;
- promoting transparency regarding the assignment of competences and responsibilities of the Republic’s and local authorities, organizations and institutions involved in the conservation and use of plant genetic resources;
- promotion of the links that will lead to increased cooperation at the national, trans-national and international levels;
- strengthening public awareness of the need and importance of genetic resource conservation through the promotion of education at all levels, training and supporting research and development;