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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CONSERVATION AND UTILIZATION OF THE GENETIC RESOURCES OF APPLES, GRAPES, AND TART CHERRIES

Location: Plant Genetic Resources

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
1. Strategically expand the genetic diversity in genebank collections and the quality and quantity of associated information for priority cold hardy grape, tart cherry, and apples and their wild relatives.

2. Conserve and regenerate priority cold hardy grape, tart cherry, and apple genetic resources efficiently and effectively, and distribute samples and associated information worldwide.

3. Strategically characterize ("genotype") and evaluate ("phenotype") priority cold hardy grape, tart cherry, and apple 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) Surveying existing domestic and international collections of Vitis, Malus, and Prunus (tetraploid cherry) to identify material that would refine and fill gaps in NPGS collections; b) acquiring new accessions of wild species and heirloom cultivars, and as appropriate, genetic stocks of apple, cold-hardy grape, and tart cherry that have been extensively characterized genetically; c) enlisting genetic marker and other information to refine the holdings of the preceding priority genera by de-accessioning materials that are misidentified or unnecessarily redundant; d) conserving, regenerating, and distributing cold hardy grape, tart cherry, and apple genetic resources and associated information; e) backing up primary collections of cold hardy grape, tart cherry, and apples via nursery plantings, cryopreservation, and seed samples; f) developing and applying genetic markers for phylogenetic and genetic diversity analyses, emphasizing SSRs and sequence-based markers in cold hardy grape, tart cherry, and apples; g) generating SSR fingerprints for all priority accessions (ca. 5,000) of cold hardy grape, tart cherry, and apples and use them to determine the identity, diversity, phylogeny, and systematics of these genetic resources, and to enhance the effectiveness of genetic resource management; and h) incorporate characterization data into GRIN and other databases, and evaluating in collaborative research program, highly heritable traits of cold hardy grape, tart cherry, and apples according to CGC-approved descriptors, and incorporate data into GRIN and other databases. The primary link with users will be through Crop Germplasm Committees that define crop priorities for collection and evaluation.


3.Progress Report:
Maintenance and delivery of germplasm to clients and stakeholders is the primary objective in this project. Over 9,500 accessions of apple, grape and tart cherry were maintained in the field repositories or as seeds stored in -20C and 2,385 accessions were further safeguarded in cryopreservation storage at Ft. Collins, CO.

Characterization of the germplasm collections is another important objective in this project. Fruit collections and juice extractions of Malus accessions has continued in 2012 for evaluation of polyphenolic compounds such as anthocyanins by HPLC. In addition, collection of titratable acidity of fruit samples of Malus accessions was continued in 2012. Digital imaging of the Malus collections is continuing with the priority to finish fruit digital imaging of Malus core collections. We have been collaborating with the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP) in Ft. Collins, Colorado using SSR markers (CH01h01, CH01f02, and CH02d08) to study the Malus collections from Europe and the collections held in Geneva at the Plant Genetic Resources Unit.

We collected phenological data for the 2nd year that included: bud break, bloom date, and veraison date for the entire Vitis collection. In a collaborative project, we compared 48 phenolic compounds in ripe berries from 16 wild Vitis species and 28 phenolic compounds from the seeds of 17 Vitis species. Two papers were published. 2,000 Malus and tart cherry accessions were either re-quantified and/or had DNA samples collected for Genotype-by-Sequencing (GBS).


4.Accomplishments
1. Provision of unique genetic sources of apple, grape and tart cherries to fruit breeders and researchers for crop improvement. Genetic resources of apples, grapes and tart cherries need to be maintained in the collection to provide the genes needed for crop improvement and research. ARS researchers at Geneva, New York distributed 7,142 samples. These distributions will contribute to the new breakthroughs of fruit research in both the U.S. and the rest of the world.

2. Use of cryogenic storage for conservation of apple genetic resources. To provide additional safeguard for apple germplasm, ARS researchers at Geneva, New York have 2,385 accessions of the collections backed up at the National Center for Genetic Resource Preservation in Fort Collins, Colorado through cryogenic preservation of dormant buds. Presently 2,335 of 2,365 permanent apple accessions in the main collection are backed up. Through this effort, the apple and tart cherry germplasm are well secured for future needs of varietal improvement.

3. Screen grape germplasm collection for polyphenols. Polyphenols (anthocyanins, flavonols, etc.) are important nutritional and quality traits for grape consumption. In collaboration with Cornell University scientists, ARS researchers at Geneva, New York investigated the variation of 48 phenolic compounds in ripe berries from 16 wild Vitis species and 28 phenolic compounds in the seeds from 17 Vitis species. A wide range of concentration variation for polyphenols was found. The identification of a number of accessions with much higher concentrations of various polyphenols will allow grape breeders to enhance and improve the composition and content of these compounds in wine and table grapes which will result in an improved nutritional value for consumers of wine and grapes.


Review Publications
Jenderek, M.M., Forsline, P.L., Postman, J.D., Stover, E.W., Ellis, D.D. 2011. Effect of geographical location, year and cultivar on survival of Malus sp. dormant buds stored in vapors of liquid nitrogen. HortScience. 46:1230-1234.

Jurick Ii, W.M., Janisiewicz, W.J., Saftner, R.A., Vico, I., Gaskins, V.L., Park, E., Forsline, P.L., Fazio, G., Conway, W.S. 2011. Identification of wild apple germplasm (Malus spp.) with resistance to the postharvest decay pathogens Penicillium expansum and Colletotrichum acutatum. Plant Breeding. 130:481-486.

Liang, Z., Yang, Y., Chen, L., Zhong, G. 2012. Polyphenolic composition and content in the ripe berries of wild Vitis species. Food Chemistry. 132:730-738.

Wang, A., Aldwinckle, H., Forsline, P., Main, D., Fazio, G., Brown, S., Xu, K. 2011. EST contig-based SSR linkage maps for Malus × domestica cv ‘Royal Gala’ and an apple scab resistant accession of M. sieversii, the progenitor species of domesticated apple. Molecular Breeding. DOI: 10.1007/s11032-011-9554-1.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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