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Dave Ellis and Luciano Nass watch as Christina Walters prepares to remove pepper seeds from vat of liquid nitrogen. Link to photo information
At the ARS germplasm preservation facility in Fort Collins, Colorado, plant physiologists Dave Ellis (left) and Christina Walters and visiting Brazilian geneticist Luciano Nass remove pepper seeds from long-term storage in liquid nitrogen. Nass is working at the ARS facility as part of the Labex exchange program. Click the image for more information about it.

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U.S. and Brazil Sow Seeds for Germplasm Exchange

By Laura McGinnis
February 5, 2007

A collaborative effort between U.S. and Brazilian scientists is setting the stage for significant international exchange of germplasm—the material plants and animals use to reproduce.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), is helping its Brazilian counterpart develop a new animal genome database. This effort is part of an ongoing collaboration between the two countries, called "Labex," through which the United States and Brazil share agricultural equipment, scientists and expertise.

This is the first Labex effort to deal with genetic resources. As part of the project, Brazilian visiting scientists Arthur Mariante and Luciano Nass worked with ARS scientists at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP) in Fort Collins, Colo. They collaborated with ARS scientists on their research, analyzed germplasm storage techniques and compared genebank management practices.

Program leaders have also arranged for a Brazilian computer programmer to work with U.S. programmers in Beltsville, Md., to develop a new version of the animal germplasm component of the ARS Genetic Resources Information Network.

Once the database is completed, people from both countries will be able to query it to obtain information on the breeds and individual animals whose germplasm is contained in the nations' repositories. In the future, this information could facilitate the international exchange of germplasm or tissues for genomic studies.

Read more about the research in the February 2007 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.