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Collecting wild cotton sample
Self-pollination of cotton plants in the U.S. National Cotton Germplasm Collection and research program in College Station, Texas. Covering cotton flowers with organza bags helps ensure a pure seed source by keeping pollinators away from flowers
The Crop Germplasm Research Unit reflects the ARS Program Plan of mission oriented research and is focused on needs not addressed by the private sector, non-ARS research agencies, or that are uniquely suited to the ARS program. Included are integrated studies of introduction, classification, and maintenance of germplasm, elucidation of cellular and molecular DNA characteristics, characterization of germplasm with useful traits such as disease and insect resistance and quality factors, determination of genetic control of these characteristics, and development of genomic and bioinformatic systems to more efficiently define and utilize diverse germplasm. Several crop species are included. Research on warm season forage grasses emphasizes evaluating their genetics, cytogenetics, and reproductive biology to develop improved germplasm and cultivars. Pecan research focuses on host-plant resistance, genetic improvement, production of improved cultivars, and curation of the National Repository for Pecan and Hickory Germplasm and their characterization and evaluation. Sorghum research emphasizes evaluation and enhancement of germplasm with emphasis on molecular genetics, development of new genetic stocks, and fungal diseases. Cotton research includes curation and characterization of the National Cotton Germplasm Collection, and evaluation and enhancement of genetic stocks with emphasis on classical and molecular genetics, genomics, bioinformatics, and biotechhnology to facilitate development of improved cotton types for productive use by U.S. farmers.