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ARS Home » Plains Area » Manhattan, Kansas » Center for Grain and Animal Health Research » Hard Winter Wheat Genetics Research » CSGGL » CENTRAL SMALL GRAINS GENOTYPING LABORATORY

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USDA Central Small Grain Genotyping Laboratory: Manhattan, Kansas


1. Conduct research to accelerate the breeding process by identifying novel DNA markers and genes for important wheat traits.

2. Use markers to select desired wheat genotypes.

3. Provide feedback to breeders seeking to create new cultivars in response to specific challenges such as newly emergent plant pathogens or changing global weather patterns.


1. Maximize the efficiency of plant breeding programs by applying high-throughput DNA marker-assisted selection (MAS) technology, resulting in the early release of superior germplasm and cultivars.

2. Develop new and robust DNA markers associated with resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses and end use quality in wheat through next generation sequencing and functional gene cloning.

3. Fingerprint a core set of cultivars and their breeding parents with DNA markers to develop molecular marker profiles for these cultivars, which will be cross-linked to other genetic information currently available in other USDA databases.

4. Exploit new technologies such as next generation sequencing and other high throughput genotyping technologies for gene discovery and genomic selection in breeding programs.

5. Provide training and consultation on marker analysis to breeders and other scientists.


Main goal to facilitate the use of DNA markers in genetic improvement of wheat, barley and oats. Specific objectives include identifying new and robust markers associated with agronomic traits and end use quality, creating marker profiles of breeding lines and cultivars, exploiting new alleles from germplasm resources, and applying the most current genomics technologies for gene detection and selection in breeding programs.

The USDA ARS provides leadership for small grain improvement to meet national needs in crop improvement. Current regional ARS laboratories characterize germplasm, improve end-use quality, and improve resistance to rusts, smuts, blights and insect pests of wheat, barley and oats.

The amount of molecular information for small grains has dramatically increased with results generated from wheat and barley genome projects and the development of improved technologies in plant genomics research. A gap exists between the discovery of molecular information and the use of that information in practical wheat, barley and oat improvement programs. As markets move away from a commodity basis toward a value-defined end-product basis, plant breeders must equip themselves with gene-specific markers that give them rapid access to traits of value.

The function of the four regional genotyping labs is to bridge the gap and to work closely with breeders and mappers to enhance valuable traits in all production areas.


In 2001 the US Department of Agriculture – Agriculture Research Service established four regional small grains genotyping labs in the US. These regional labs were formed through the strong support from small grains stakeholders, local and regional farmers, and breeders throughout the US. The small grain crops that the four regional genotyping centers focus on include wheat, barley, and oats.

Visit the Manhattan CSGGL.

Visit all four USDA genotyping labs. Learn where we are located, who are we collaborating with, and the genotyping projects at each of the genotyping labs.