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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CONSERVATION, CHARACTERIZATION, AND EVALUATION OF CROP GENETIC RESOURCES AND ASSOCIATED INFORMATION Title: Conservation, Distribution, Utilization, and Security Backup of Forage Legume and Grass Genetic Resources

Authors
item Pederson, Gary
item Harrison, Melanie
item Morris, John

Submitted to: Southern Pasture and Forage Crop Improvement Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 30, 2009
Publication Date: April 30, 2009
Citation: Pederson, G.A., Harrison Dunn, M.L., Morris, J.B. 2009. Conservation, Distribution, Utilization, and Security Backup of Forage Legume and Grass Genetic Resources. Southern Pasture and Forage Crop Improvement Conference Proceedings.

Interpretive Summary: The Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit (PGRCU), Griffin, Georgia, conserves seed or plants of over 88,000 accessions or seed lots of several different crops and wild relatives. These crops include sorghum, peanut, cowpea, pepper, mung bean, okra, watermelon, sesame, pearl millet, guar, kenaf, roselle, eggplant, sweetpotato, bamboo, and others. The main forages conserved at Griffin are warm-season grasses, forage legumes, and annual clovers. Over 80% of these seed lots are available to be distributed to scientists and teachers. Since 1988, more than 12,200 warm-season grasses, 4,000 forage legumes, and 10,800 annual clover samples have been distributed to researchers throughout the world. Traditionally, forage germplasm has been used for plant breeding and development of new crop cultivars. Scientists in many other research areas now utilize these seeds in their research. Almost all forage seeds maintained at Griffin are backed up at a second site in Colorado to prevent loss of these valuable seeds due to a disaster. Some seeds are also backed up at a new global seed vault in Svalbard, Norway.

Technical Abstract: The Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit (PGRCU), Griffin, Georgia, conserves seed and/or clonal plants of 88,820 accessions of 253 genera and 1,509 species (USDA, ARS, 2009). The accessions conserved are those adapted to the climate of the southern U.S. and include a wide diversity of crops and wild species including sorghum, peanut, cowpea, pepper, mung bean, okra, watermelon, sesame, pearl millet, guar, kenaf, roselle, eggplant, sweetpotato, bamboo, and others. The accessions are distributed to research and educational users throughout the world. Over 7,600 of these accessions are warm-season grasses, forage legumes, and annual clovers commonly utilized for pasture and hay research. The objective of this paper is to document the conservation, distribution, utilization, and security backup of pasture and hay genetic resources from the PGRCU germplasm collection. The main forages conserved at Griffin are warm-season grasses, forage legumes, and annual clovers. The bulk of all seed for the warm-season grass, forage legume, and annual clover accessions are maintained in sealed bags at -18 C to maximize seed longevity and interval required between regenerations. Small samples for distribution are maintained at 4 C and 25% relative humidity. Presently, about 88% of the warm-season grass collection, 80% of the forage legume collection, and 82% of the annual clover collection are available for distribution. Since 1988, more than 12,200 warm-season grasses, 4,000 forage legumes, and 10,800 annual clover samples have been distributed to researchers throughout the world. Traditionally, forage genetic resources have been used for plant breeding and development of new crop cultivars. However, the number of uses by researchers outside of traditional plant breeding has greatly increased in recent years. A total of 7,377 forage accessions or 96.5% of all forage accessions in the Griffin collection are backed up at a second germplasm site at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation, Ft. Collins, CO. Recently, a new global seed vault was built at Svalbard, Norway, for security backup of the world’s plant genetic resources. The first seeds were deposited in the vaults during February 2008 and included seed from several germplasm sites within the National Plant Germplasm System including the PGRCU collection at Griffin. Currently, 328 forage accessions from Griffin are backed up at both Ft. Collins and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

Last Modified: 10/30/2014
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