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This USDA-ARS lab is located at the Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland, USA. Its mission is to support the agency's National Genetic Resources Programs, with an emphasis on the National Plant Germplasm System. For plants, germplasm is living tissue from which a new plant can be propagated. Depending on the crop this can be seeds, cuttings, roots, tubers, or other plant parts. USDA funds have been dedicated since 1898 to collect, maintain, document, and share plant material related to food and agriculture. This is one of the oldest continuous scientific activities of USDA. This mission is even more critical than ever today to help meet the global challenges of safe and secure production of food, feed, fiber, ornamental, industrial, and medicinal plants.

There are three units with the National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. The Database Management Unit develops and operates information management systems that help staff manage the genetic resources collections, and scientists worldwide to search them and request material for research and education. The Plant Exchange Office develops methods to prioritize U.S. germplasm needs, helps procure plant germplasm through international and domestic exchanges, provides taxonomic expertise to the NPGS, and develops strategies to better conserve crop plants and their wild relatives. The Plant Disease Research Unit studies pathogens that infect plant germplasm to help facilitate the safe introduction and international exchange of plant genetic resources.

Please visit the News & Events and Partnering sections of our website for more information about the many important and interesting projects in NGRL that impact U.S. and global agriculture.

Field Day NGRL Exhibit
Beltsville Agricultural Research Center Field Day - NGRL Exhibit

Carol Ritchie at the NGRL booth during BARC Field Day 2010

Carole Ritchie at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center Field Day - NGRL Exhibit

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Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Collections


National Germplasm Resources Laboratory (NGRL)
NGRL Brochure Cover