Some Historical Aspects of VIR Avena L. World Collection
Dr. Igor Loskutov
To Historical review

The beginning of world collection of oat was created in 1901 by the requests and collecting of landrases in guvernors of Russia, and as by the requests of accessions from seed firms Haage und Schmidt (Germany) and Vilmorin et Andrieux (France). Since 1908 complex collecting of local Russian varieties of all agricultural crops begins. Since 1911 the first samples of oats collected by N.I.Vavilov begin to enter to the collection. Since 1919 through Moscow Plant Breeding Station large collections of foreign varieties of oats enter. After visiting N.I.Vavilov to USA in 1921 the collection was enriched american varieties - from Dr.Warburton, Dr.J.M.Reed and Dr.Harlan from USDA, Bureau of Plant Industry and other american breeding Institutions. Cooperation with seed and breeding institutitons of Europe is renewed - Svalof (Sweden), University College of Wales, Aberystwyth and Scotish Society for Research in Plant Breeding. In 1923, as wel as in 1912, botanical diversity of local varieties was collected on All-Russian Agricultural Exhibition in Moscow. The diverse material on oat was delivered by P.M.Zhukovsky from his expedition in Minor Asia in 1925-27. In 1926-27 N.I.Vavilov delivers large diversity of varieties and species from expedition on Meditterranean countries and Ephiopia.

The unique accessions were presented of covered and naked forms of Avena strigosa from Spain and Portugal, as well as A.abyssinica from Ephiopia. Further the collections of oats in different degree were entried from all N.I.Vavilov's expeditions. In 30-s cooperation with foreign breeding institutions is developed: Halle Universitat, F. Von Lockhov-Petkus and Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut fur Zuchtungsforschung (Germany); USDA, Bureau Plant Industry (Dr.H.C.Murphy); Central Agricultural Research Institute, Sofia (Bulgaria) and others. After Second World war period VIR is continued collecting on the territory of the USSR mostly development cultivars of oats. Since 1954 the expeditions to abroad were organized. Exchange of the accessions with leading genebank and breeding Institutions of the world is renewed: ARS USDA, Beltsvill (Dr.H.L.Hyland); Experimental station Santa Anna (Peru); INRA (France); CSIRO, Division of Plant Industry (Australia); Welsh Plant Breeding Station and PBI (GB); Svalof and Weisbull (Sweden); Jokionien and Hankija (Finland) and others. In 70-80-s exchange of the accessions between genebanks of COMECON countries and VIR is developed. In present time the collection of cultivated oat of 4 species - A.strigosa, A.abyssinica, A.byzantina and A.sativa - is about 12.000 accessions, presenting all botanical and geographical diversity of the Earth. Landrases are the half of this collection but many of them not cultivated now and they maitaned in the world collection of VIR only. More than 95% registred cultivars of oats of former USSR was created on the basis of the world collection of VIR.

The Avena wild collection of VIR was formed on the basis of the samples of species collected in the former USSR and abroad, accessions of Dr. B.Baum's collection transferred from Canada to VIR, and on the germplasm received lately by mail requests from the largest genebanks of Canada, USA, UK (M.Leggett), Germany and other countries. The collection of VIR incorporates over 500 original samples collected by N.I.Vavilov, A.I.Malzev, P.M.Zhukovsky, A.I.Mordvinkina, V.F.Dorofeyev and other scientists of the Institute's staff. At present, the collection stores at VIR is a representative collection of wild and weedy Avena species. It harbours about 2 000 accessions representing the whole geographic diversity of all known species (21 spp.) with different ploidy levels, which belong to the subsection Euavena (Griseb.).

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