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CATIE's Orthodox Seed Germplasm Bank was established in July 1976 as a strategy to face the growing loss of diversity of some of the most important crops in the Mesoamerican region. One of the main tasks of the bank is to locate, collect, conserve, characterize and distribute the germplasm (seeds) of plants that, due to their attributes, are considered of priority interest to strengthen and ensure the food sovereignty of the region, in addition to providing oriented scientific knowledge to the optimization of the conservation of species of importance for food and agriculture.