germplasm

noun
germ·​plasm | \ ˈjərm-ˌpla-zəm How to pronounce germplasm (audio) \
variants: or less commonly germ plasm

Definition of germplasm

1a : germ cells and their precursors serving as the bearers of heredity
b : the genetic material of germ cells : genes There is now a global effort to conserve the genetic material, or germplasm, of important crops.— Omar Sattaur The extraordinary precision and reliability of the replication of the germ plasm during each nuclear division …— Ernst Mayr
2 : plant or animal material (such as seeds, pollen, rootstock, or sperm) that is collected and stored chiefly for future use in breeding, conservation, or research The first U.S. facility for long-term preservation of crop germplasm, the National Seed Storage Laboratory at Fort Collins, CO, began storing collections of all major crops in 1958.— Nigel J. H. Smith Well-managed collections of germ plasm will give plant breeders a broader genetic base for producing new crops with greater resistance to pests, diseases and drought.— John P. Reganold et al.

Examples of germplasm in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Hagedorn has distributed this germplasm, or living tissue, to cryobanks in various countries. Rebecca Albright, Scientific American, "Scientists Are Taking Extreme Steps to Help Corals Survive," 1 Jan. 2018 But new germplasm for breeding programs is a pretty nice thing to think about. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Don't overlook the witch hazel plant for much-needed color in your winter garden," 16 Feb. 2018 These are quite a bit cooler than anything found in most homes; they are kept at minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit and store germplasm seeped in liquid nitrogen. Sena Christian, Newsweek, "Breakfast in Post-Apocalypse America: Inside Colorado's Fort Knox of Food," 19 Nov. 2015 At these active sites, crop species experts evaluate, grow and distribute germplasm to researchers, professors and breeders worldwide. Sena Christian, Newsweek, "Breakfast in Post-Apocalypse America: Inside Colorado's Fort Knox of Food," 19 Nov. 2015 The cryopreservation process frees this germplasm of pathogens and buys the material an estimated couple-thousand years of viability. Sena Christian, Newsweek, "Breakfast in Post-Apocalypse America: Inside Colorado's Fort Knox of Food," 19 Nov. 2015 The repository currently holds over 80 percent of the germplasm stores from ARS sites across the country. Simran Sethi, Smithsonian, "Inside the Colorado Vault That Keeps Your Favorite Foods From Going Extinct," 9 Mar. 2018 The potential for area gardeners is the introduction of unique, new germplasm for future amazing hybrids — with fire engine red flowers the size of dinner plates that smell like lilies, fry up the okra and walk the dog... Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Don't overlook the witch hazel plant for much-needed color in your winter garden," 16 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'germplasm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of germplasm

1885, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about germplasm

Statistics for germplasm

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for germplasm

The first known use of germplasm was in 1885

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for germplasm

germplasm

noun
germ·​plasm | \ ˈjərm-ˌpla-zəm How to pronounce germplasm (audio) \
variants: also germ plasm

Medical Definition of germplasm

1a : germ cells and their precursors serving as the bearers of heredity
b : the genetic material of germ cells : genes
2 : plant or animal material (as seeds, pollen, or sperm) that is collected and stored chiefly for future use in breeding, conservation, or research

Comments on germplasm

What made you want to look up germplasm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!