Submitted to: American Forage and Grassland Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2005
Publication Date: July 1, 2005
Citation: Pederson, G.A., Newman, M.L, aka Harrison Dunn, M.L., Morris, J.B. 2005. Forage genetic resources for research utilization. American Forage and Grassland Conference Proceedings 2005 [CD ROM] Vol. 14 Technical Abstract: Plant genetic resources collected or obtained from countries throughout the world are valuable sources of genetic diversity for use in crop improvement programs. Though forage breeders commonly utilize genetic resources in their breeding efforts, other researchers are often not as aware of the extensive species variability and genetic variability within forage species available for research use. The USDA, ARS, Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit (PGRCU), Griffin, GA, in cooperation with the S-009 Multistate Project forms part of a comprehensive nationwide program, the National Plant Germplasm System, to preserve plant genetic resources for use today and for use by future generations. PGRCU maintains the U.S. Plant germplasm collections for many forage crops, including warm-season grasses, annual clovers, forage legumes, sorghum (forage grain types), and pearl millet. The warm-season grass collection includes 6,715 accessions of 98 genera and 484 species. The major forage species in grass collection are bermudagrass, bahiagrass, dallisgrass, buffelgrass, switchgrass, bluestems (big, cane, caucasian, and little), kleingrass, and fingergrass. The annual clover collection includes 2,126 accessions of 125 Trifolium species. The major annual clovers in the collection are crimson, arrowleaf, subterranean, berseem, rose, ball, persian, lappa, and hop clover. The forage legume collection at Griffin includes 2,934 accessions of 59 gernra and 361 species. The major forage legumes in the collection are Leucaena, Desmodium, Aeschynomene, Macroptillium, Neonotonia, Lespedeza, Stylosanthes, Desmanthus, Lablab, Centrosema, Chamaecrista, Kummerowia, and Ornithopus. The sorghum collection at Griffin contains both forage and grain types of sorghum through the majority of the accessions are photoperiod sensitive types that will not flower in the continental U.S. The sorghum collection contains 32,255 accessions of 15 sorghum species. The pearl millet collection contains 1,086 accessions. the accessions with current or possible forage use comprise 54% of the entire collection of 84,164 accessions maintained at the griffin location. Information associated with each accession is located in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) on the Internet (www.ars-grin.gov/npgs/). This information includes passport information on the origin of the accession (country, location, wild collection or developed germplasm) and descriptor information on morphological characters, disease or insect resistance, value-added traits, and other evaluation data. All genetic resources located at Griffin are freely available for research and educational use by bona fide researchers. An average of 34,000 accessions of all crops have been distributed each year for the last 5 years to scientists throughout the world. Forage researchers are enoucraged to utilize the genetic diversity available in this collection to produce improved forage cultivars and management practices for producers.