Woody Ornamental Genomic Research in the Southeastern United States
Southern Horticultural Research
2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this cooperative research project is to develop strategies for breeding new and improved woody ornamental germplasm adapted to the southeastern United States that exhibit host-plant resistance to disease, insects, and other pests.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
1) Elucidate the genetic/genomic bases of host-plant resistance to microbes, insects and/or nematodes in woody ornamentals, especially those characteristic of the southeastern United States; and.
2)Apply the knowledge gained through the preceding research to developing effective genetic enhancement and/or improvement strategies for host-plant resistant woody ornamentals adapted to the southeastern United States utilizing molecular and conventional breeding techniques.
Molecular markers for redbud and crapemyrtle, two very popular and increasing important woody ornamentals plants, were developed in collaboration with North Carolina (N.C.) State University and Texas A&M University. ARS scientists have characterized many cultivars of each species and have utilized the markers in our cooperator’s breeding programs. Publications have resulted for both these projects and we will continue to work on redbud with scientists at N.C. State University. Similarly, ARS scientists developed molecular markers for Viburnam (V.) rufidulum, V. farreri, V. lantana and V. carlesii. These markers will be used to assess phylogenetic relationships within the Adoxaceae using Sambucus from the U.S. and Germany as outgroups. They will also aid breeding efforts for new cultivar development, and assist with early detection and screening of plants that have escaped cultivation. These markers will also be used in cooperation with Montana State University to map an interspecific viburnum population. Pityopsis (P.) ruthii is a perennial plant that also has ornamental potential since it flowers in the fall until frost and is drought and flood resistant. A breeding protocol has been successful in producing seedling plants as well as hybrids between P. ruthii and P. graminifolia, a sympatric species. The drought and water submergence characteristics of the plant make it an attractive model species to study the genetic basis of these traits as they related to climate changes.