Location: Tropical Crops and Germplasm Research
Title: Evaluation and characterization in bananas (Musa ssp.) at the USDA-ARS Tropical Agriculture Research Station Authors
Submitted to: International Horticultural Congress
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 15, 2014
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Banana, Musa spp., is a key horticultural crop in tropical regions of the world where they provide sustenance and serve as cash crops. The plantain subgroup in particular, is an important staple in the Caribbean, Central America and some countries in South America. One of the integral research components at the USDA-ARS Tropical Agriculture Research Station, located in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico is the characterization and evaluation of Musa spp. genetic resources. The existing collections consist of close to 200 accessions of mostly of cultivated diploids, triploids and synthetic hybrids. Field characterizations have focused on morphological descriptors, while genetic characterizations have concentrated on the use of flow cytometry and PCR-based molecular marker techniques for genotyping, cataloging, determination of genetic integrity and assessing genetic diversity. Field evaluations have focused on evaluations for black leaf streak disease resistance and other important yield components in multi-site trials. Collaborations exist with Bioversity International for research on Musa spp. genetic resources. These involve the detailed field characterization of a diverse core sub-set as part of an international multi-site effort, the verification of genetic integrity and field characterization of International Transit Center genetic resources and the field evaluation of improved germplasm as part of the International Musa Testing Program (IMTP). The goals of these collaborative research efforts are to aid the international Musa spp. genetic resources community while exploiting the diversity that exists in this crop by providing promising Musa spp. germplasm that can be grown as agricultural sustainability alternatives for the region.