Possibilities for using molecular markers to improve genebank efficiency are increasingly present thanks to developments in genebanks and developments in molecular genetics. These possibilities relate to all aspects of genebank management: acquisition, maintenance, characterisation and utilisation. However, two pitfalls should be avoided. The first lies in the neutrality of the most generally used markers, making them less suitable for optimising genetic diversity. The second is related to the considerable costs involved in using molecular markers. In many cases an economical analysis will have to decide if the markers can routinely be used in genebank operations. Some examples of model studies and applications of molecular markers in genebank operations will be presented, in which both genetic and economic aspects will be illustrated briefly. These examples involved existing genebank collections of wild lettuce, cabbage and wild potato.
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