Fern spores and pollen are haploid plant germplasm of microscopic nature that can be used to regenerate full plants through germination (fern spores) or to fertilize seed-bearing plants through breeding programs (pollen). Due to their short life span in conventional storage (i.e., dry at -20 °C), the use of cryopreservation has been indicated for long-term ex situ conservation. While fern spores of most species and pollen from many seeded plants tolerate desiccation and can be stored dry at liquid nitrogen temperatures, some pollen is desiccation sensitive, and cryopreservation protocols require controlled drying and cooling and some level of cryoprotection. In this chapter we describe the cryopreservation process for fern spores used in the Millennium Seed Bank of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, including some details of the fern spores harvest and cleaning methods. In addition, two protocols for pollen cryopreservation are described, one generic for desiccation-tolerant pollen that can be used for multiple species and one specific for a desiccation sensitive pollen (Zea mays).
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