Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: December 15, 2009
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The United States apple industry is produces a limited number of cultivars for consumption. Breeders, genomicists and physiologists are dependent upon using the diverse apple germplasm available at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) National Plant Germplasm System Plant Genetic Resources Unit (PGRU) in Geneva, NY to identify and develop new cultivars. This chapter describes the management system for the PGRU and summarizes the cultivar and wild species materials available for distribution to research programs. Tables provide information on collection trips, species collections and lists of traits for which descriptor data are available in the Genetic Resources Information Network (GRIN) database.
Technical Abstract: The Plant Genetic Resources Unit (PGRU) in Geneva, NY part of the USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm System. The PGRU maintains 55 species of apple (Malus) in both field and seed collections. The main field collection of apples has 2621 diverse clones grafted onto EMLA 9 rootstock. Ninety-seven percent of this collection is backed-up at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP) in Ft. Collins, CO as dormant buds stored in the vapor phase of liquid nitrogen. A core collection of 258 individuals has been designated as representative of the main collection. The PGRU also has a field species collection with 3043 unique individuals as own-rooted seedlings. Nineteen plant explorations to North America, Central Asia, and China have contributed over 1000 new seedlots of diverse Malus species. Original seeds from the collection expeditions are kept at -20oC in the PGRU cold vault and 36% of the seedlots are backed up at the NCGRP. The PGRU Malus collection has been characterized using both phenotypic and genotypic descriptors and data are available on the Genetic Resources Information Network (GRIN) database. The repository currently distributes between 7000 and 10,000 accessions per year in the form of dormant scions, fruit, DNA samples, and leaf tissue. The PGRU seeks to strategically expand the genetic diversity in the Malus collection as well as the quality and quantity of associated information for both the clones and wild species material.