Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CONSERVATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF GERMPLASM OF SELECTED VEGETABLE CROPS
2008 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1. Strategically expand the genetic diversity in genebank collections and improve associated information for priority buckwheat, tomato, cole crops, bulb and bunching onions, and other specialty vegetable crops (celery, radish, asparagus, winter squash, and tomatillo) and their wild relatives.

2. Conserve and regenerate priority buckwheat, tomato, cole crop, bulb and bunching onion, and other specialty vegetable crop (celery, radish, asparagus, winter squash, and tomatillo) genetic resources efficiently and effectively, and distribute pathogen-tested samples (whenever feasible) and associated information worldwide.

3. Strategically characterize (“genotype”) and evaluate (“phenotype”) priority buckwheat, tomato, cole crop, bulb and bunching onion, and other specialty vegetable crop (celery, radish, asparagus, winter squash, tomatillo) genetic resources for molecular markers and highly heritable horticultural and morphological traits.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The objectives of this project will be met by a) expanding the genetic diversity in genebank collections and improving associated information for priority buckwheat, tomato, cole crops, bulb and bunching onions, and other specialty vegetable crops (celery, radish, asparagus, winter squash, and tomatillo) and their wild relatives, b) conserving and regenerating genetic resources of these taxa efficiently and effectively, and distributing pathogen-tested samples (whenever feasible) and associated information worldwide, and c) characterizing (“genotype”) and evaluating (“phenotype”) genetic resources of these taxa for molecular markers and highly heritable horticultural and morphological traits. In the next five years the major activities of the project will emphasize upgrading standards for viability and number of seed stored in the active and base collections. Characterization for minimal descriptor lists will be completed for tomatoes, Crucifers, and onions. The primary link with users will be through Crop Germplasm Committees that define crop priorities for collection and evaluation.


3.Progress Report
This project (1910-21000-019-00D) replaces CRIS Project 1910-21000-016-00D, which was terminated on April 14, 2008. The OSQR Project Plan was developed, revised and was implemented for the current CRIS Project (1910-21000-019-00D) on April 15, 2008. Milestones for the previous project plan were completed, which delayed work on milestones for the new project plan.

In any collection of plants (called a “plant germplasm collection”) there is a need to assess genetic variation among varieties (called accessions), time periods, and geographical regions from which they were originally collected. One of the benefits of such assessment is the more efficient utilization of the collection. For example, just a few accessions, if carefully chosen, may contain a highly diverse set of genes. We used a molecular genomic tool (called SNP genotyping) to assess the genetic variability in our core collection of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). Accomplishing this also betters our understanding of genetic relationships between accessions collected from various geographical areas and at various times. Such information aids tomato breeders in developing improved varieties of the crop. National Program 301 (Plant Genetic Resources, Genomics, and Genetic Improvement); Component 1: Plant and Microbial Genetic Resource Management; Problem Statement 1B: Assess the Systematic Relationships and Genetic Diversity of Crop Genetic Resources.


4.Accomplishments
1. Genetic resources of vegetables for crop improvement and research conserved for the long-term: Genetic resources are the diverse plant varieties and lines maintained in a collection that provide the genes needed for crop improvement and research. Worldwide, vegetable breeders and other researchers need a ready source of genes to use to provide new vegetable varieties that have disease and pest resistance, tolerance to abiotic stresses, increased quality, and improved nutrition. At Geneva, approximately 12,600 accessions of tomato, onion, radish, winter squash, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, other cole crops, celery, tomatillo, asparagus and other vegetables were maintained for the long-term and 26 new accessions were acquired. This provided the genetic diversity needed to develop vegetable varieties with disease and pest resistance, tolerance to abiotic stresses, and varieties with improved quality and nutrition; and ensured its future availability in the long-term. National Program 301 (Plant Genetic Resources, Genomics, and Genetic Improvement); Component 1: Plant and Microbial Genetic Resource Management; Problem Statement 1A: Efficiently and Effectively Manage Plant and Microbial Genetic Resources.

2. Availability of seed of vegetable genetic resources to distribute: There is a continuing need for regeneration of vegetable varieties, wild plants, and researcher’s lines to have seed available for crop researchers that provide necessary genes for crop improvement and research. This is due to loss of viability over time and the usage of seed as it is distributed for crop improvement and research. During FY 2008 approximately 415 accessions were regenerated at Geneva, NY and 60 accessions of short day onions were regenerated at New Mexico State University through a cooperative agreement; additionally, 63 biennial crop accessions were grown to produce plants for use in seed production in 2009. This allowed us to continue to distribute seed; 4862 seed lots of 3137 accessions were distributed in 318 orders (276 domestic and 42 foreign). These distributions cover the time periods for both 1910-21000-019-00D and 21000-016-00D). This germplasm is available for use by qualified researchers and other bona vide users worldwide. National Program 301 (Plant Genetic Resources, Genomics, and Genetic Improvement); Component 1: Plant and Microbial Genetic Resource Management; Problem Statement 1A: Efficiently and Effectively Manage Plant and Microbial Genetic Resources.


5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
There is need for heirloom and new publicly bred germplasm for use by organic farmers. A RCA (Organic Seed Partnership) with Cornell University provides support to PGRU for training of organic farmers and small seed producers in small-scale seed production of heirloom and new publicly improved vegetable varieties, whose production has been limited because of lack of seed. PGRU has the lead role in offering training and assistance in small-scale seed production of heirloom vegetable germplasm and new publicly bred, open-pollinated varieties to small-scale seed producers, organic farmers and the organic community. The concluding workshop for this project was held at West Virginia State University (an 1890’s University) for a 2-day hands-on seed cleaning demonstration and workshop, seed exchange and participatory breeding on July 30 - 31, 2008. The workshop at West Virginia State University was a collaborative effort of PGRU, West Virginia State University, and Cornell University. This workshop provided vital training in small-scale seed production to growers and organic farmers interested in incorporating seed production into their existing farm systems. This has increased the availability of heirloom and new publicly bred germplasm for use by small and organic farmers. The Organic Seed Partnership (OSP) website has had over 4,200 hits since it was created in 2005 (2000 hits occurring in 2007 alone) and has been viewed my people in over 70 countries. This site contains information about the new goals and direction of the OSP project. This website contains all the details that the PSI website had plus information about upcoming events, nationwide cooperators, updated news and events occurring around the country, and streaming video detailing on-farm vegetable breeding and seed production: www.organicseedpartnership.org. These activities cover both 1910-21000-019-00D and 21000-016-00D.


6.Technology Transfer

Number of Other Technology Transfer5

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page