RESEARCH, ACQUISITION, MANAGEMENT, AND DOCUMENTATION OF PLANT GENETIC RESOURCES
Location: Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing
Title: Safflower Germplasm: Past, Present, and Future.
Submitted to: International Safflower Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2008
Publication Date: November 7, 2008
Citation: Johnson, R.C., Bradley, V.L., Kisha, T.J. 2008. Safflower Germplasm: Past, Present, and Future.. International Safflower Conference Proceedings.
Interpretive Summary: Genetic resources are the essential raw materials needed for improving crops and for developing new, value added uses. Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.), with its numerous and varied uses, has benefited from the diversity of genetic resources conserved and distributed by genebanks. The U.S. safflower collection is located at the Western Regional Plant Introduction Station (WRPIS) at Pullman, Washington. It now includes more than 2400 C. tinctorius accessions. The WRPIS is part of a national network of germplasm repositories that collectively make up the USDA-ARS National Germplasm System (NPGS). The US collection is represented by germplasm from more than 50 countries, and accessions are available to scientists worldwide. The WRPIS activities include germplasm acquisition and regeneration, maintenance and distribution, and evaluation and enhancement. For future germpaslm needs the WRPIS will play a central role by providing the needed genetic resources.
Germplasm collections are a critical resource for development and improving safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) cultivars and germplasm. Our objective is to describe the safflower germplasm collection at the Western Regional Plant Introduction Station (WRPIS), Pullman WA, USA, in light of past, present, and future safflower germplasm uses and needs. The WRPIS maintains 2477 C. tinctorius accessions of which 90% are available for distribution. As many as 300 safflower accessions are regenerated each year under screen cages to prevent genetic contamination by insect cross pollination. The active collection is maintained at 4°C and 24% r.h. to facilitate management and distribution, while long-term, security back-up of accessions is at -18°C. Over the last ten years 11485 seed packets have been distributed from the WRPIS with 77% to scientists outside the US. The GRIN database contains 61982 data entries for safflower accessions including information on growth and development, disease resistance, oil content, and fatty acid profiles. Recent innovations in safflower germplasm using WRPIS germplasm include high vitamin E types, high saturated fatty acid types, the first mapped safflower genes, and winter adapted safflower. Current acquisition needs for the WRPIS include collections in southwest and central Asia and wild Carthamus species. Future uses of safflower are expected to include expanded use of hybrids, biofuels, new fatty acid combinations, and transgenic safflower for producing pharmaceuticals. In all these efforts, the WRPIS will play a central role by providing the needed genetic resources.