Plant Genetic Resources Unit - Mission Statement:
The mission of the Plant Genetic Resources Unit (PGRU) is i) to acquire, maintain, characterize, and distribute plant genetic resources of selected fruit and vegetable crops, and ii) to develop new precocious and productive apple rootstocks resistant to pests, diseases, and environmental stresses. PGRU is a component of the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System and conserves around 20,000 accessions representing nearly 200 species and encompassing both seed-propagated and clonal germplasm. These genetic resources are invaluable for crop improvement. Some of the larger crop collections include apple, grape, onion, tomato, and vegetable Brassica crops. PGRU distributes germplasm and carries out collaborative research activities related to management and evaluation of the collections, including nutritional characterization of fruits and vegetables. The Apple Rootstock Breeding Program applies molecular tools to enhance the efficiency of developing new rootstocks which are then evaluated nationwide for commercial potential. Outreach activities to the public include support of organic farming and science education.
Grape Genetic Research Unit - Mission Statement:
The mission of the Grape Genetics Research Unit is the advancement of grape production through interdisciplinary research, breeding and technology transfer. The goals of the program are to reduce losses to crop yield and quality that result from diseases, pests, and abiotic stress and improve grape and grape product quality and utilization. Enhanced varieties and techniques will be developed using breeding, genetics, genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics and transferred to grape growers, packers, and processors. The primary research areas are: (1) Development of resistance to pests and diseases in grape scion and rootstock; (2) Superior adaptation to growing conditions and tolerance of abiotic stress; (3) Improved product quality through enhanced knowledge of mechanisms governing color, flavor, aroma, sensory characters, and yield.