NGRL Welcomes Two New Employees
Matt Eicholtz (left) and Eric Brewer (right) joined NGRL in March and April 2016, respectively, as temporary employees. Matt is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland-College Park. Eric obtained a B.S. degree from Cornell University and an M.S. from the University of Maryland-College Park.
NGRL Welcomes New Employee
Irazema Fuentes-Bueno joined NGRL as a new Biological Science Technician in February 2016. Irazema obtained a B.S. degree from the Instituto Tecnologico De Sonora in Mexico and an M.S. in Plant Pathology from Kansas State University. She joins NGRL after working for several years at the ARS Hard Winter Wheat Genetics Research Unit in Manhattan, KS.
2016 Student Employees in NGRL
Yvette Tamukong, left, is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland-College Park with B.S. degree in Environmental Science and Technology.
NGRL Scientist Participates in Documentary Film Screening
Gary Kinard, National Germplasm Resources Lab, delivered a seminar on plant genetic resource conservation at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science-Appalachian Lab (UMCES-AL) in Frostburg, MD on February 19, 2016. Then on February 20th, he joined UMCES-AL faculty for a free public screening and discussion of the documentary film “Seeds of Time” at the historic Palace Theater in Frostburg. The film highlights the global work of Dr. Carey Fowler to conserve crop germplasm. It includes segments filmed at the ARS National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation in Ft. Collins, CO and on a plant exploration in Arizona for crop wild relatives of potato with John Bamberg from the ARS potato genebank in Sturgeon Bay, WI. About 100 members of the Frostburg, MD community enjoyed the film and lively discussions.
GRIN-Global Launched for the National Plant Germplasm System
On November 30, 2015, the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) began using GRIN-Global as its information management system. GRIN-Global is designed to provide the world’s crop genebanks with a powerful, flexible, easy-to-use global plant genetic resource information management system. It will constitute the keystone for an efficient and effective global network of genebanks to permanently safeguard plant genetic resources vital to global food security, and to encourage the use of these resources by researchers, breeders, and farmer-producers. Information Technology specialists in NGRL, along with ARS colleagues in Ames, IA and Ft. Collins, CO are the primary developers of GRIN-Global. For more information on the project, please see http://www.ars-grin.gov/npgs/gringlobal/sb/home.html
NGRL Welcomes New Visiting Research Scholar
Dr. Nouman Tahir joined NGRL as a Visiting Research Scholar on December 1, 2014. Dr. Tahir recently completed his PhD from Quaid-i-Azam University in Pakistan. He will work with NGRL plant pathologists on quarantine pathology problems.
NGRL Scientist Conducts Crop Wild Relative Workshop for Native American community in Michigan
Botanist Karen Williams, with the National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, was the lead instructor at the Crop Wild Relatives Workshop, hosted by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), at Baraga, MI on August 5 – 6, 2014. The workshop was sponsored by the Cedar Tree Institute, as a part of their 2014 Zaagkii Wings and Seeds Project, and was in partnership with the U. S. Forest Service (USFS) Eastern Region and the USDA/ARS.
The workshop introduced the tribal members to crop wild relatives, native plants that are closely related to food crops, with a major focus on the crop wild relatives that are native to the United States. Conservation and use of these plants is a critical element of future food security. Speakers from the Chicago Botanic Garden and Ferris State University also made presentations on seed collecting and documenting wild plant populations.
NGRL Welcomes New Scientist
The National Germplasm Resources laboratory welcomed Dr. Dimitre Mollov to USDA-ARS as a new permanent scientist (Plant Pathologist) effective October 21, 2013. Dr. Mollov joins ARS from the University of Minnesota, where he obtained his PhD in Plant Pathology in 2012. He looks forward to working with collaborators and stakeholders on problems related to quarantine pathogens that infect plant germplasm. Dr. Mollov can be reached at email@example.com or 301-504-8624.
World Economic Plants: A Standard Reference, Second Edition Published
Dr. John Wiersema, a Botanist in the National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, and collaborator Dr. Blanca Leon recently published the second edition of World Economic Plants: A Standard Reference. This 1,336 page reference book covers more than 12,000 economically important vascular plants that are used for a wide range of human activities. Such plants provide food and food additives, materials, fuels, medicines, forage, raw genetic material for plant breeding, or environmental and social effects. The coverage also includes poisonous plants and weeds.
The Svalbard Seed Vault
Popular press stories have described the Svalbard Global Seed Vault as the “Doomsday Vault” or the ‘Noah’s Ark for Seeds”. Located on a Norwegian archipelago in the arctic permafrost, the vault provides long-term back-up storage of global collections of important food-crop seeds. The facility is managed as a collaboration between the Global Crop Diversity Trust, the Nordic Genetic Resource Center, and the Government of Norway. The agreement for countries that store seeds here is similar to that of a safety deposit box in a bank, where only the original depositor has access to the contents of their box.
GRIN-Global Wins Technology Transfer Award
The GRIN-Global software won the 2012 "Excellence in Technology Transfer" award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer Midwest Region. On behalf of the GRIN-Global Team, Pete Cyr and Marty Reisinger accepted the award at the Awards Ceremony in Dayton, Ohio, on August 14, 2012.
Crop Wild Relatives of the US
NGRL scientists, especially GRIN Taxonomist Dr. John Wiersema, are collaborators in a project to develop a conservation strategy for crop wild relatives (CWR) occurring in the US, especially species that are potentially useful to US agriculture. Crop wild relatives have contributed valuable traits to crop breeding programs, especially for pest and disease resistance, and will likely be key resources utilized to meet the challenges of global food production in this century as agriculture adapts to challenges of resource limitations and climate change. The project builds upon an effort to compile a national inventory of the native and naturalized CWR in the US, spearheaded by Curator/Geneticist Dr. Stephanie Greene at the USDA/ARS genebank in Fort Collins, Colorado, and is part of PhD dissertation research for Colin Khoury, currently at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia. Learn more about the CWR of the US project, and provide valuable feedback, at http://cwroftheus.wordpress.com/.
Preserving Genetic Variety of Valuable Specialty Crops
Protecting, preserving, providing material is the goal of the National Germplasm Resources Laboratory (NGRL) and the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS). An article on Preserving Genetic Variety of Valuable Crops provides some explanation of parts of the NGRL and the NPGS.