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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGEMENT OF TEMPERATE FRUIT NUT AND SPECIALTY CROP GENETIC RESOURCES Title: Recent NPGS coordinated expeditions in the Trans-Caucasus Region to collect wild relatives of temperate fruit and nut crops

Authors
item Postman, Joseph
item Aradhya, Mallikarjuna
item Williams, Karen
item Stover, Ed
item Meyer, Paul -

Submitted to: Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 20, 2011
Publication Date: May 20, 2012
Citation: Postman, J.D., Aradhya, M.K., Williams, K.A., Stover, E.W., Meyer, P. 2012. Recent NPGS coordinated expeditions in the Trans-Caucasus Region to collect wild relatives of temperate fruit and nut crops. Acta Horticulturae. 948:191-198.

Interpretive Summary: The USDA National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) maintains genebanks for various crops including fruit and nut trees. NPGS efforts include collecting additional genetic diversity for use by researchers and industry. As part of this effort, NPGS coordinated several expeditions to collect priority plant material in the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia beginning in 2001. One of the goals was to preserve valuable wild relatives of crop species at genebanks in the host countries and in NPGS genebanks in the United States. These three countries are a part of the “Caucasus” region, referring to the Caucasus Mountains that run through them, and are a center of origin for several important fruit and nut crops. Seeds and cuttings of local varieties and wild relatives were collected from diverse habitats in accordance with international agreements and national laws. Since 2001, more than 50 unique genebank accessions (seedlots or living plants) of hazelnut, 20 quince, 23 medlar, 52 pear and smaller numbers of fruit species such as Service Berry, Hawthorn and Mountain Ash from these three nations were added to the NPGS collections in Corvallis, Oregon. Fifty fig samples, 125 walnut, 53 pistachio, 50 pomegranate, 70 grape and many samples of almond, apricot, cherry, and peach went to the genebank in Davis, California. Apple samples numbered 30 and were added to the genebank in Geneva, New York. Once trees are established at the genebanks, they are evaluated for horticultural traits, environmental adaptations and pest resistance, and made available to researchers world-wide for genetic studies and crop improvement.

Technical Abstract: The USDA Agricultural Research Service-managed National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) coordinated several germplasm expeditions in the trans-Caucasus countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia beginning in 2001. One of the goals was to preserve valuable wild relatives of crop species ex situ at genebanks in the host countries and in NPGS genebanks in the United States. The Caucasus region is a center of origin for several important temperate fruit and nut crops that are conserved at NPGS facilities in Oregon, New York and California. Seeds and cuttings of landrace cultivars and wild relatives were collected from diverse habitats in accordance with international agreements and national laws. Since 2001, more than 50 unique accessions of Corylus (hazelnut), 20 Cydonia (quince), 23 Mespilus (medlar), 52 Pyrus (pear) and smaller numbers Amelanchier, Crataegus and Sorbus from these three trans-Caucasus nations have been added to the NPGS collections in Corvallis, Oregon. Almost 50 Ficus samples, 125 Juglans, 53 Pistacia, 50 Punica, 70 Vitis and many accessions of various Prunus species went to the genebank in Davis, California. Malus (apple) samples numbered 30 and were deposited at the genebank in Geneva, New York. Established accessions are evaluated for horticultural traits, environmental adaptations and pest resistance, and made available to researchers world-wide for genetic studies and crop improvement.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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