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Historic agreement will save QLD’s plant DNA for future generations


1 July 2004
Queensland Premier Peter Beattie today signed an agreement with Southern Cross University’s (SCU) Australian Plant DNA Bank Ltd that will see the DNA and seeds of Queensland’s native plant species preserved at the University’s DNA Bank.

Professor Robert Henry, CEO of Australian Plant DNA Bank, said the signing of the agreement was a great step forward for the conservation of Queensland’s biodiversity, and will ensure its sustainable utilisation, bringing economic benefits to Queensland.

“Queensland has over a 1000 endangered species, this historic agreement will help protect those species for future generations,” Professor Henry said.

“The DNA from plants can also provide invaluable information in the areas of medicine and agriculture and under this agreement benefits gained from research of the Queensland Plant Collection will flow back into Queensland,” he said.

The Australian Plant DNA Bank is a world leader in plant DNA banking and will play a key role in conserving the world’s biodiversity and in biodiscovery for the food, agricultural and medicinal industries. The DNA collection of Australia’s flora heritage would account for approximately 10 per cent of the world’s entire flora.

Under this agreement biological resources from Queensland will be stored among the national collection of extracted DNA from plants. The material will be housed at the Plant DNA Bank’s facility at the Lismore campus of SCU.

Professor Henry said, “The Queensland Government is to be congratulated for being proactive in the conservation and protection of plant species. We are now looking to the other states to sign similar agreements to ensure that Australia’s 25,000 plant species are preserved.”

“Plant DNA banks are a key to conserving the world’s biodiversity and will contribute to new discoveries in medicine and agriculture. It is important that Australian state and federal governments move now to ensure all Australian species are collected and preserved for use by future generations,” said Professor Henry.

For information about biobanks, and particularly the Australian Plant DNA Bank, visit the website

Media contact: Kasturi Shanahan, SCU Media Unit, 0439 858057, or Professor Robert Henry 66203010.