Active/base collection

Base and active collection – a terminology still appropriate?

At the expert meeting about genebank standards held recently in Rome, no agreement was reached whether to continue to use the terms active and base collection. It was argued on the one side that it is a useful distinction and helpful to guide genebank managers of national genebanks, while on the contrary it is considered an artificial distinction and has created a lot of confusion and waste of resources.

Is the common understanding of “active and base collection” clear and unambiguous? How is the concept reflected in the updated genebank standards? How does it relate to the underlying principle of “active curation” or “active management”? What are the options to deal with this issue in the revised genebank standards?

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