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Rootstocks are the underground part of plants to which different tops can be attached, or grafted, to create a stronger or better new plant.

Germplasm is material—like seeds in plants—that contains the features of a plant or animal.

When genes from two “parent” plants or animals are combined through crossbreeding, for example, their features are carried to the next generation.

Photo of ARS geneticist Peter Cousins.
Geneticist Peter Cousins inoculates a grape seedling with an aggressive root-knot nematode strain. Resistant seedlings are candidates for use as rootstocks.
 
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Sci4Kids logo that links to this ARS Web site's home page. Hot-linked title graphic that reads: "With Apples, All Roads Lead to Central Asia."