Genebanks are valuable resources for crop improvement through the acquisition, ex-situ conservation and sharing of unique germplasm among plant breeders and geneticists. With over seven million existing accessions and increasing storage demands and costs, genebanks need efficient characterization and curation to make them more accessible and usable and to reduce operating costs, so that the crop improvement community can most effectively leverage this vast resource of untapped novel genetic diversity. However, the sharing and inconsistent documentation of germplasm often results in unintentionally duplicated collections with poor characterization and many identical accessions that can be hard or impossible to identify without passport information and unmatched accession identifiers. Here we demonstrate the use of genotypic information from these accessions using a cost-effective next generation sequencing platform to find and remove duplications. We identify and characterize over 50% duplicated accessions both within and across genebank collections of Aegilops tauschii, an important wild relative of wheat and source of genetic diversity for wheat improvement. We present a pipeline to identify and remove identical accessions within and among genebanks and curate globally unique accessions. We also show how this approach can also be applied to future collection efforts to avoid the accumulation of identical material. When coordinated across global genebanks, this approach will ultimately allow for cost effective and efficient management of germplasm and better stewarding of these valuable resources.
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