Seeds for Health: An International Collaboration for the Collection, Conservation, Characterization, and Sustainable Utilization of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of Nepal
Steve Adkins and Sangita Shrestha
Nepal is very rich in medicinal and aromatic plant biodiversity. However, various anthropogenic activities coupled with predicted climate change scenarios are major threats to the survival of many of the species in the coming decades. Therefore, this potentially high value plant biodiversity should be judiciously conserved, characterized and utilized for the future and in order to generate national benefits for health and economic benefits. In consideration of these facts, an International collaborative project is proposed which in the long term will not only conserve the medicinal plant biodiversity in both a national and an international seed banks, but will also characterize many of them at physiological, biochemical and molecular levels. In addition, the research outputs in the disciplines of seed science and technology, biotechnology, molecular biology, biochemistry, taxonomy and ecology will then make possible the in situ conservation and sustainable utilization of this high value biodiversity for the well being and livelihood of Nepalese people. The University of Queensland (UQ), Millennium Seed Bank (MSB, UK), EVK2-CNR and University of Pavia (UP), Italy are the International collaborators of this project, whereas DPR/ DNPWC and DoF from the MoFSC, MoST and different departments of Tribhuvan University such as Botany, Biotechnology, Environment and Chemistry are the National collaborators of this project. Recently, with the joint venture of NAST and EV-K2-CNR, Himalayan Seed Bank (HSB) has been established at NAST research laboratory and Human resources in seed science and technology have been developed with the help of Australian Government, UQ, Ev-K2-CNR and UP.
Keywords: seed science, Millennium Seed Bank, Himalayan Seed Bank, seed biology, molecular characterization