USDA-ARS, Plant Genetic Resources Unit
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.
Research Leader: Dr. Gan-Yuan Zhong