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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Management of Arid Land Plant Genetic Resources and Associated Information

Location: San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Objective 1:In cooperation with other NPGS sites, efficiently and effectively regenerate and conserve priority plant genetic resources adapted to long-season and/or arid land conditions, and distribute samples and associated information worldwide.

Sub-objective 1A - Serve other NPGS sites by regenerating accessions that require long-season/arid growth conditions, and maintain the backup Corylus collection.

Sub-objective 1B - Maintain clonal and seed propagated accessions for NALPGRU site-specific crops, emphasizing accessions with low germination, low seed supply, and open-pollinated seed stocks. Develop new regeneration methods as needed. Prepare and send backup seed to the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP).

Objective 2: Strategically expand the genetic diversity in selected germplasm collections and improve associated information for priority long-season and/or arid land plant genetic resources through international and domestic germplasm exchanges and plant explorations.

Objective 3: In cooperate with other NPGS sites, characterize and evaluate priority genetic resources for genetic markers, phenotypic descriptors, and key agronomic or horticultural traits. Incorporate characterization and evaluation data into GRIN-Global and/or other databases.

Sub-objective 3A - Optimize DNA extraction methodologies and develop molecular markers for Opuntia (prickly pear) and Simmondsia (jojoba) to characterize the collections. Upload marker data to GRIN-Global.

Sub-objective 3B - Characterize the Opuntia and Simmondsia collections phenotypically and transfer descriptor data into GRIN-Global.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Develop, apply, and follow crop species specific germplasm regeneration protocols supplied by the crop germplasm curators carefully to produce seeds and vegetative propagules as a part of germplasm regeneration and rejuvenation program for different participating NPGS repositories. As a germplasm conservation backup location for Corylus collection from the NCGR, Corvallis, follow all the specified cultivation and management practices for effective management of collection. Strictly follow the crop curators’ protocols to maintain the genetic integrity of each and every accession. Follow appropriate crop rotation and management practices to avoid cross-contamination either through regeneration of residual species from previous years or cross pollination among accessions within and among related outcrossing species. Strictly follow bagging, caging, and apply and maintain appropriate in-cage pollinators during pollination to produce healthy well-filled genetically true-to-type seeds. Maintain the recommended plot size and plant population to avoid harmful effects of genetic drift in outcrossing crop species germplasm and to maintain allelic diversity within and among accessions. All recommended procedures and protocols will be strictly followed to avoid seed contamination while harvesting, processing, and cleaning. Develop proper field maps and label individual accessions while sowing, planting and carefully follow labels while harvesting, processing, and bagging of final seeds. Acquire germplasm, conserve and maintain a broad spectrum of diversity among the in-house germplasm collections assigned. Determine the Minimum Viable Population (MVP) size that is required to avoid erosion of genetic diversity within and among collections through genetic drift in outcrossing seed producing species. Establish methods and protocols to maintain genetic diversity in outcrossing species collections. Characterize germplasm collections using molecular markers and phenotype collections as per standard descriptors. Apply appropriate statistical methods to analyze the genetic diversity, structure, and differentiation to descript genetic diversity and pattern of distribution within and among different taxa. Photodocument morphological diversity within and among different taxa. Upload all data, pictures and results on to Genetic Resources Information Network. Strategically acquire germplasm through plant explorations in the centers of diversity of crop species and through exchange with other collection sites. Plan and execute plant explorations as per the USDA-ARS/NGRL Plant Exchange Office guidelines. Follow strictly all federal and state plant quarantine protocols and Convention of Biological Diversity treaty while plant exploration and importing of germplasm. Distribute appropriate germplasm and associated information to stakeholders nationally and internationally.


3.Progress Report:
This documents progress for 5306-21000-011-00D which started March 8, 2013 and continues research from 5306-21000-010-00D, “Arid Land Plant Genetic Resources Conservation, Evaluation, and Information Managment.”

Most of the planting for regeneration was done on the first half of FY13 and harvest was/is being done in the second half of FY13. For Aberdeen, Idaho, 1179 cereals were regenerated, 918 in hills and 261 in rows. For Ames, Iowa, 31 sunflower and 25 cumin accessions, for Pullman, Washington, 287 garlic and one Hedysarum accession. For Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, 14 accessions of potatoes were grown in winter and they succeeded in producing tubers in the greenhouse. During the summer, 8 heat tolerant accessions and one check. The Corylus backup collection was maintained by regular pruning, spraying and other routine agricultural practices.

The genera Atriplex, Bassia and Proboscidea were decommissioned. All plants in the genus Bassia were removed from the field and the remnant seed was sent to Fort Collins, Colorado, for long term storage. Proboscidea will also be sent into long-term storage before the end of FY13. Atriplex is still at the site as numerous accessions have been requested by researchers in Mexico and Argentina; these researchers are processing the paperwork to obtain the import permits required by their countries. After these requests are fulfilled and if no others arrive, the collection will be sent into long-term storage.

Both seed and clonal propagules were provided to germplasm users through requests originating in the Germplasm Resource Information Network (GRIN). For FY13, requests from germplasm users totaled 511 accessions; approximately 9% of them were international requests. The most requested genus was, once more, Opuntia (141), followed by Parthenium (125), Physaria/Paysonia (47), and Atriplex (43).

Fifty-four Physaria/Paysonia and 27 Limnanthes accessions were regenerated from seed. Thirty-four accessions of the perennial Parthenium were caged and selfed seed was collected, and 44 Atriplex, 13 Hesperaloe and a few others from other genera were also harvested. Maintenance pruning of the Parthenium and Opuntia collection was done.

Data collection was completed on the study on rooting of Simmondsia cuttings throughout the year in two accessions from different geographic locations. In the second half of FY13, 6000 raw images of site-specific crops have been obtained for National Arid Land Plant Genetic Resource Unit (NALPGRU) crops. Crop images were also obtained and sent to curators at other sites so that they could assess the progress of those accessions.

The existing greenhouses were retrofitted with frames to allow shade cloths to ride smoothly over the structures. This allows covering and uncovering the roofs easily according to temperature, irradiation and needs of plants being kept inside with no damage to the shade cloths. New shade cloths were also acquired to replace damaged ones.

NALPGRU personnel completed all the required training for safety, security, cyber security, onboarding, and USDA Pathway. There were no safety or security incidents during FY13.


4.Accomplishments
1. Germplasm regeneration for other Repositories. Many accessions were regenerated for other Repositories, including: 1179 cereals for Aberdeen, Idaho, 31 sunflower and 25 cumins accessions for Ames, Iowa, 287 garlic and one Hedysarum accession for Pullman, Washington, and 14 potato accessions for Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. These could not be regenerated at the sites of their repositories because of the short growing seasons and harsh climate. The repositories send us seeds or garlic bulbs prior to the proper time for planting. Seeds or bulbs are harvested, cleaned, and shipped. These regenerations are necessary to meet the distribution, viability, and research needs for these crops.

2. Decommissioning genera no longer part of the collection. A change between the current and past projects is that there are now three fewer genera; therefore, Atriplex, Bassia and Proboscidea were decommissioned. All plants in the genus Bassia were removed from the field and the remnant seed was sent to Fort Collins, Colorado, for long term storage. Proboscidea will also be sent into long-term storage before the end of FY13. Atriplex is still at the site as numerous accessions have been requested by researchers in Mexico and Argentina. These researchers are processing the paperwork to obtain the import permits required by their countries. This allows the National Arid Land Plant Genetic Resource Unit (NALPGRU) to focus its resources on its remaining genera in the collection as well as growing out accessions for other repositories.

3. Seed and clonal propagules continue to be provided to scientists who request them throught the world. These are important for research on drought tolerant crops. Germplasm distribution both seed and clonal propagules were provided to germplasm users through requests originating in the Germplasm Resource Information Network (GRIN). For FY13, requests from germplasm users totaled 511 accessions; approximately 9% of them were international requests. The most requested genus was, once more, Opuntia (141), followed by Parthenium (125), Physaria/Paysonia (47), and Atriplex (43). Because seeds are primarily distributed, there is no seasonality to distribution. This germplasm is utilized for research by scientists throughout the world.

4. Regeneration of the collection. As accessions lose viability, they must be regenerated for the collection. Therefore, 54 Physaria/Paysonia and 27 Limnanthes accessions were regenerated from seed. A total of 34 accessions of the perennial Parthenium and 44 of Atriplex were caged and selfed seed was collected. Additionally, 13 Hesperaloe and a few others from other genera were also harvested. These seeds are now available for distribution. Fresh seed typically germinates and performs better than older seed.


Last Modified: 11/27/2014
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