Gene Bank of the Cultivated Crops and Medicinal Herbs of the Indian Communities in the Valley of the Caura River, Venezuela (the CAURA RIVER PLANT CORE COLLECTION, CRCC) and its Basic Molecular Characterisation  

Project authors:

Ing. Ivo Wiesner, CSc.
Dr. Tomáš Wiesner
Ing. Mnislav Zelený


Contact addresses of the project authors’ institutions::

Ing. Ivo Wiesner, CSc., Institute of Molecular Biology of Plants, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Plant Genetics Department, Molecular Biodiversity Group, Branišovská 31, České Budějovice, Postcode 370 05, Czech Republic, e-mail: Telephone: +420-38-777 5501(12), fax: +420-38-53 00 356; mobile: 0703 244 3029

Mgr. Tomáš Wiesner, Director of City Museum of Ústí nad Labem, Masarykova 3, Postcode 400 01 Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic, e-mail Telephone/fax: +420-48-5211260, mobile: 0603 541 481

Ing. Mnislav Zelený, founder of Gran Amazonia Foundation, o.p.s., Masarykova 3, Postcode 400 01 Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic, mobile: 0604-263868, e-mail:


Short-term project:

3 years

Preliminary budget of the initial project:

    First year (CZK ‘000) Second year (CZK ‘000) Third year (CZK ‘000)
1 Travel expenses, material costs 250+150 250+100 250+100
2 Services (publishing costs) 20 20 20
3 Contribution of local organisation (power, use of instruments, guarding the premises etc. (UMBR AV ČR*; City Museum of Ústí nad Labem) 35 35 35
4 Total non-capital expenditures (sum 1+2+3) 455 405 405
5 Capital expenditures over CZK 40,000.-; software over CZK 60,000.- 450 (digital photo documentation, rooms with regulated temperature to store biological material)    
6 Staff costs (remuneration) 80 80 80
Total   985 485 485
TOTAL in USD 32,000.- 16,200.- 16,200.-
*UMBR AV ČR = Institute of Plant Molecular Biology of the Czech Academy of Sciences

The accurate budget figures for the starting project will have to be adjusted and detailed according to the rules and possibilities based on the financing source, and the actual volume of planned work and staff available. Detailed finalisation of the budget may involve an upward or downward change by an order in the costs.

Justification of the budget:

  1. Material costs:
    Three types of procedure will be used for collecting the plant material:
    1. segments of plant tissue in ethanol or isopropanol (??? as to alcohol there may be problems with transborder transport; to prevent that, isopropanol would be a good solution??)
    2. herbarium items for future drying on silica gel (??? fungicides needed??)
    3. seeds and other material for natural reproduction of plants.
  2. Travel costs:
    It is planned that every year two participants will spend 30-60 days working in the Caura Valley in Venezuela. The budget includes air tickets, insurance, vaccination and the costs of the stay.
  3. Service costs:
    This includes, in particular, costs of presentations and publications. Impact publications are to be written, informing about the establishment, content and focus (specialisation) of the gene bank and its basic characteristics (including molecular parameters) (international impact scientific journals such as Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution and geographical journals, such as Lidé a země, National Geographic and others), and also presentations in the national media to provide adequate publicity, as suitable for the project.
  4. Operating contribution for the organisations involved:
    The Institute of Plant Molecular Biology of the Czech Academy of Sciences in České Budějovice and the Museum of the City of Ústí nad Labem will need a contribution for the operation of the rooms used under the project, the utilities, telecommunications etc.
  5. Capital expenditures:
    1. What is treated as capital expenditures according to the current accounting rules is the acquisition of an instrument worth more than CZK 40 thousand and software over CZK 60 thousand. At this level of cost we plan to buy a standard photo camera and digital photo camera with high-quality optics to be able to record morphological details for prompt in situ electronic photo documentation for later exact taxonomic identification of the collections, for the picture part of the electronic databases and for the documentation of the materials undergoing molecular analyses.
    2. There are plans to build an Internet database (based on PHP and SQL technologies) with a web interface, giving the possibility of later “remote data mining” investigations.
    3. A cold storage room is to be built and equipped for long-term storage of biological material at low temperatures on the premises of the Museum of the City of Ústí nad Labem.

The main objectives of the project:

The key objective of the three-year project is to establish a basic collection – gene bank of the cultivated crops used by the Indian communities in the Caura River Valley. The gene bank is being established as an Emergency Indian Crop Germplasm Collection (EICGC) to take care of the current unique repertory of Indian cultivated crops, which constitute an integral part of the cultural tradition of the natural Indian communities. This tradition is being increasingly undermined by advanced countries’ expanding economic activities. It is therefore a moral obligation of the advanced countries to provide protection of the culture, which is essential for saving such cultural and biological wealth. Once built, the EICGC bank will serve not only for preserving and documenting part of the cultural heritage, but also as a source of initial plant material to re-install these crops whenever needed (in-vitro technology of explants and the technology of cultivated plants genome manipulation). With a similar philosophy and objective in mind, scientific attention will also be paid to the Indian “green medicine” plants, i.e. plants used by Indian shamans for treating the local people.


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