As new cultivars are produced and grown for use in modern horticulture,
old cultivars and wild sources of variation (which could be a source of
valuable characteristics and be useful in future breeding programmes)
are being lost. Since initiatives in 1974, there continues to be much
interest in gene conservation and several gene banks have been
established. A gene bank provides a means of storing large quantities of
seed of diverse origins at low temperatures, while some plant material
(i.e. that which cannot be stored as seed) is maintained by tissue culture.