story to find out more.
Apple variety trials from the
apple breeding program at the Institute of Pomology and Floriculture,
Skierniewice, Poland. Click the image for more information about
ARS Scientist Shares Cryopreservation Techniques
Abroad By Laura
McGinnis November 14, 2005
Since 2001, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant physiologist
Reed has been helping to preserve valuable plant genetic resources by
flying tens of thousands of miles to teach scientists in Germany, Poland and
Kazakhstan new methods for storing genetic resources for vegetatively
Plants that are vegetatively propagated, like many fruit and nut crop
plants, reproduce by cuttings. Most cannot be grown from seeds or they will
lose their characteristic fruit qualities. Seeds are generally hardier, cheaper
and easier to maintain than live plants, so some genebanks can't afford to keep
reserves for these clonal plants. Cryopreservation, the science of preserving
part of a living plant at very low temperatures, is one solution to this
Reed received a grant from the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's Foreign
Agricultural Service to teach cryopreservation protocols to international
scientists. The foreign researchers visited Reed's lab in Corvallis, Ore., to
observe how ARS preserves germplasm and to practice the new techniques. After
two weeks, they returned to implement their new knowledge in their respective
countries. Reed has visited all of the researchers in their homelands to ensure
that the technology had been successfully transferred.
In Kazakhstan, Reed helped scientists remodel a laboratory and plan
research projects. She has an additional grant from the ARS
Union Scientific Cooperation Program with scientists in Kazakhstan.
Although she has completed her work in Poland and Germany, she continues to
work with the Kazakhstani scientists, helping them to preserve the region's
diverse selection of apples and apricots at their genebank, located, fittingly,
in the city of Almaty, whose name means "Father of Apples."
As Kazakhstan continues to develop, fields, farms and pastures are
expanding into areas where these wild fruits flourish. Cryopreserved
collections will help to conserve the important genetic diversity of these
crops. The genes in these plants could be invaluable in crop breeding.
about the research in the November 2005 issue of Agricultural Research
ARS is USDA's chief scientific research agency.