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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: The Biology and Physiology of Beta Vulgaris Ssp. Maritima, An Important Genetic Resource for Enhancing Beet Production in the United States

Location: Sugarbeet Research

2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Increase collaboration with the Dipartimento Biotecnologie Agrarie in developing a program to better characterize the biology and physiology of sea beet, which is the most important genetic resource for enhancing beet production. Sea beet grows wild along the Adriatic Coast and has been studied by the Dipartimento Biotecnologie Agrarie in collaboration with Stazione Sperimentale di Bieticoltura di Rovigo (Sugar beet Experimental Station, Rovigo) for several years. We will.
1)identify populations to phenotype,.
2)enumerate traits selected for through domestication, and.
3)discover the genetic and genomic basis for these traits.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The USDA-ARS NPGS has an extensive collection of germplasm collected from the coast of Italy. Collaborative efforts with Dr. Enrico Biancardi, Prof. Massimo Saccomani, and Dr. Piergiorgio Stevanato, the foremost world experts in the life history of sea beet (Beta vulgaris subspecies maritima), have been initiated. We would work together to identify areas where NPGS collectors have collected sea beet germplasm, and measure population traits. These traits in sea beet would be compared with cultivated sugar beet and other domestic beets (table, fodder, Swiss chard) by both ARS and Italian researchers. Once phenotypic changes through domestication have been identified sea beet and domestic beet would be crossed to provide populations for genetic and genomic analyses. The gene and genomic changes brought about by the domestication process will be examined.


3.Progress Report

In the initial stage of this new agreement collaborators and ARS scientists have decided on using populations at the mouth of the Po River in the Delta where it enters into the Adriatic Sea. This area around Porte Levante, Italy is an area where the sea beet (Beta vulgaris subspecies maritima) has been studied for over 100 years and the populations are well characterized. The USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm System has two accessions from this area. There was a meeting between ARS and University of Padua in June of 2011 and common methodology was agreed upon. Molecular markers will be utilized, which include SSRs (described in the literature) and, potentially, the use of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) developed by the University of Padua. A research outline was developed.

ADOR monitoring activities include a site visit and frequent emails before and after the site meeting. Infrequent phone calls can be made when necessary.


Last Modified: 9/23/2014
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