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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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The National Plant Germplasm System

The plants in the National Plant Germplasm System are shared with researchers, plant breeders and growers in hundreds of countries. New crop varieties and landscape plants developed from this system's germplasm collection have literally changed the face of agriculture and gardening in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Some Milestones in plant exploration...

  • Naval oranges, collected in Brazil, along with avocados brought back from Mesico in 1898, created new California industries from these crops.
  • Rice varieties, collected in Japan in 1900, established the beginnings of rice growing in Louisiana and Texas. Today, both are among North America's major rice-growing states.
  • Rootstock, on which many U.S. peaches are now grown originally came from germplasm collected in the 1920's.
  • A wild peanut, discovered in Peru in 1966, provided some of today's varieties with genes for resistance to two major diseases of peanuts.
  • A wild oat, found in Israel in the 1960's provided plant breeders with genes for developing one of the world's most disease-resistant oat varieties.

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Last Modified: 8/12/2016
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