Conventional storage protocols have been developed to preserve genetic diversity of seeds of crops in genebanks. These same principles have been applied to preserve seeds from wild populations. While most principles for conventional storage protocols are applicable to a broad range of wild species, seeds from wild populations are not amenable to some practices that assume high uniformity within the seed lot. Small sample sizes and high heterogeneity of seeds from wild populations demand greater a priori knowledge of characteristic longevity as well as new tools to monitor viability without germinating seeds. Some of the challenges handling seeds from undomesticated plants are exemplified from an experiment with sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) seeds. Sagebrush seeds deteriorate very quickly at high humidity and moderately fast at room temperature. Rapid drying of seeds and immediate placement in the freezer might boost longevity. As with seeds from most wild species, there is insufficient knowledge of sagebrush seed storage traits to guide viability monitoring in the genebank.
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Vol. 35 • No. 1