An accession number is given to an ecotype of a species when germplasm, and provenance information, of that ecotype is stored and maintained for the future, by genetic resource centers such as those at Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT (ABIC) and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Each center thus creates a catalogue of its collection with its own accession numbers. However, when germplasm is shared with, or distributed to other centers, the recipient institutions designate their own accession numbers to the material, thus creating the situation where any particular ecotype can have more than one accession number. For example, CIAT 621, a released ecotype of Andropogon gayanus is also known as ILRI 12465 and CPI 99640. Fortunately, major genetic resource centers frequently record these synonymous numbers in their databases. In the 'Promising accessions' category of the fact sheets, the synonyms are shown within brackets.
Thus, when requesting germplasm, where possible use the accession number of the supplier institution followed by any synonyms. Also, when choosing a possible supplier (usually ABIC or ILRI), consider the native habitat of the species. In general, choose ABIC for species from the Americas and ILRI for species from Africa and Asia.