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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: EXCHANGE OF CROP GENETIC RESOURCES AND ASSOCIATED DOCUMENTATION FOR THE U.S. NATIONAL PLANT GERMPLASM SYSTEM

Location: National Germplasm Resources

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Identify key germplasm gaps in NPGS collections, prioritize the acquisition needs, identify opportunities for acquisition, and secure needed genetic resources through cross-institutional linkages, plant exchanges, explorations, and importation. Develop approaches to share benefits with host countries for providing NPGS access to needed germplasm. Expand, enhance, and maintain the online database (GRIN-Taxonomy)that provides access to, and promotes the proper and consistent use of validated, standard botanical and cultivated scientific plant names, taxonomic classifications, and associated data by genetic resource managers and researchers worldwide. Expand the nomenclatural, classificatory, and ecogeographical information available on GRIN for highly diverse specialty crop taxa.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
To identify NPGS germplasm gaps, we will assemble and analyze systematic and ecogeographic data on the taxa in the crop genepool, current ex situ holdings of germplasm of taxa in the crop genepool, reported problems in the crop that can be addressed by additional germplasm, reported needs of breeders or other researchers for new germplasm and in situ conservation status of taxa in the genepool genetic resources. Maintain all of the identified NPGS germplasm gaps in a searchable database. Prioritize the identified collection needs to acquire the more valuable and most threatened accessible genetic resources that are needed. Priority factors include: interest of the curator and CGC in acquiring new germplasm, potential of the target germplasm to solve the identified problem(s) in the crop, magnitude of the identified gaps in the NPGS, accessibility to germplasm in countries within the distribution of the taxa in the genepool, and the projected economic value of use of the targeted germplasm. Administer the Plant Exploration and Exchange Program to obtain the needed germplasm. Monitor the latest taxonomic literature, through routine literature searches to detect any changes to existing taxonomy and/or nomenclature for possible adoption in GRIN. Correct authorship and spelling or other details of publication of a name to ensure the accuracy of this information. Conform all nomenclature to the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN). Cite in GRIN the literature or other bases for taxonomic or nomenclatural decisions. New classifications based on molecular evidence, will be considered for GRIN taxonomy provided that they conform to acceptable nomenclature in ICBN. Synonyms accepted in recent literature will be added. Common names in French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, or Japanese, will be added in conformity to GRIN standards and reflecting native scripts when possible. The sources for all common names, the negative economic effects of alternate host plants for plant diseases or pests, and of weeds and poisonous plants will be recorded on GRIN. Native distributions will be documented by country (or state for large countries) and these records linked to more detailed external web resources. Information on non-native distributions will also be provided, and for invasive or potentially invasive species distribution data will be evaluated in comparison to data from federal and state invasive species initiatives.


3.Progress Report:
The National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) germplasm needs for all major U.S. crops are being reviewed by compiling origin and improvement status data for the NPGS accessions of the crop and their related species. These are being compared with Germplasm Resources Information Network and geographical range records for these taxa. Fifteen (15) plant explorations and exchanges were authorized, funded, and coordinated between October 2011 to September 2012. Plant explorations took place in Morocco (2), Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan (2), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and the United States (4). The five plant explorations in Central Asia for lettuce were set up through an existing collaboaration with the Missouri Botanical Garden. A plant exchange expedition to Canada was also conducted. Germplasm collected on these explorations and exchanges included fruits, beets, onions, carrots, grasses, lettuce, energy crops, nuts, potatoes, and woody and herbaceous ornamentals. These accessions are new sources of genetic diversity that have been added to the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System and will soon be available to plant breeders and other researchers worldwide. Benefit sharing with the host countries for foreign explorations included sharing of germplasm, purchase of equipment, and training of scientists. The existing collaborative projects in Albania, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Syria, Morocco, Kyrgyzstan, and Ukraine were maintained and supported. Support was maintained for germplasm collection and conservation activities of native U.S. Fraxinus species, which are severely threatened by the Emerald Ash Borer insect.

About 3,700 taxon records were updated in GRIN Taxonomy during FY 12. Around 1,500 of these were new additions to GRIN, many in response to the approximately 100 requests received from National Plant Germplasm System staff during this period. These included accommodating additional accessions from the Seeds of Success project of the Bureau of Land Management and the ARS Western Regional Plant Introduction Station, and others from the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation, including some plant pathogens. Numerous adjustments were made to taxonomy data, including the addition of more than 37,000 distribution, 29,000 literature, 15,000 common name, and 1,800 economic use records. Modifications to more than 45,000 existing records were accomplished to enhance GRIN Taxonomy data for publication of the second edition of the reference 'World Economic Plants'. Many adjustments were made in response to approximately 80 solicited reviews of GRIN economic plant data by taxonomic specialists for this publication. A 1,350-page manuscript, treating 12,000 plants and including 52,000 common names in 29 languages, was generated from GRIN data and submitted to the publisher in June 2012. It includes a 500-page Catalog of Economic Plants, with their accepted scientific names, synonyms, common names, economic uses, and geographical distributions, followed by an extensive index to common names in Latin script, and several separate indices for the nearly 6,000 common names in non-Latin script.


4.Accomplishments
1. Identification of NPGS germplasm needs. NPGS germplasm needs for Malus (apple), Prunus (almond, apricot, sweet/sour cherry, peach/nectarine, plum/prune), and Juglans (walnut) were identified and acquisition plans were developed. This information will be used to support activities designed to fill gaps in NPGS collections.

2. Public release of the Guatemalan Atlas of Crop Wild Relatives. The Guatemalan Atlas of Crop Wild Relatives was released. The Atlas was a cooperative effort involving the USDA-ARS National Germplasm Resources Lab, the Faculty of Agronomy of the University of San Carlos de Guatemala (FAUSAC), Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). The Atlas provides detailed information on 105 species of wild plants that are related to 29 different crops. It includes the description, distribution, diversity and conservation status for each species. The maps are drawn from a downloadable database of 2,600 scientific specimens conserved in international institutions, mainly herbaria and genebanks. The Atlas was provided to governmental and non-governmental organizations in Guatemala where it will be a useful tool to support conservation efforts. Because this region is very rich in plant genetic diversity, these efforts will also support global efforts to conserve plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

3. Identification of crop genetic relatives in GRIN Taxonomy. A project to determine the important genetic relatives of all major and minor crops important to U.S. agriculture and fully treat them in GRIN Taxonomy continued in FY 12. Work on 89 principal crops has now been completed. These treatments identify and classify over 2,400 primary, secondary, tertiary, and graft-stock genetic relatives for these crops, and the resulting data can be searched through a web interface to retrieve the results. These data have been shared with global partners working on crop wild relatives, and a manuscript describing the resulting crop wild relative database has been prepared. An additional project to document and conserve native U.S. wild crop relatives is underway in conjunction with a European graduate student. The information assists curators and scientists in the U.S. by developing strategies to acquire inadequately conserved genetic resources of crop relatives, promoting in situ conservation, and facilitating germplasm enhancement.

4. Genetic resources distributed to scientists worldwide. PEO assisted in the distribution of 125,321 packets of NPGS genetic resources to researchers in 63 different countries throughout the world, and in the importation of 12 shipments of germplasm from 9 different foreign countries for U.S. researchers and the National Plant Germplasm System. Making germplasm readily available to scientists worldwide for use in crop production and basic research is the most important justification for crop conservation.


Review Publications
Kirkbride, J.H., Wiersema, J.H., Delprete, P.G. 2012. Proposals to reject the names Spermacoce stigosa and S. hyssopifolia Sm. and conserve the names S. hyssopifolia Wild. Es oem. & Schult. (Rubiaceae). Taxon. 61(2):475-476.

Kirkbride, J.H., Wiersema, J.H., Delprete, P.G. 2012. (1) Request for a binding decision on whether Ferdinanda (Compositae) and Ferdinandea (Rubiaceae) are sufficiently alike to be confused. Taxon. 61(2):479.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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