Location: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory2014 Annual Report
1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Objective 1: Support, plan, and/or conduct international and domestic explorations and exchanges to acquire plant genetic resources, especially of crop wild relatives and landraces of major, specialty and new crops to fill gaps in the holdings of key U.S. National Plant Germplasm System crop collections. Objective 2: Establish and support international research and capacity-building partnerships to foster current and future plant genetic resource explorations and exchanges.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Prepare and distribute guidelines for plant exploration/exchange proposal preparation and execution. Provide guidance to scientists on proposal preparation, trip planning, documentation of collections, collecting protocols, recommended equipment, and other matters. Coordinate review of plant exploration and exchange proposals and arrange for funding. Contact foreign governmental authorities to negotiate terms on access to genetic resources, including associated benefit sharing, and any restrictions placed on the use of acquired germplasm. Assist explorers in complying with USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) regulations regarding importation of germplasm from explorations and exchanges. Coordinate introduction of material requiring quarantine with the APHIS Plant Germplasm Quarantine Program. Track completion of each explorer’s responsibilities following implementation of an exploration, including submission of a report and provision of germplasm and associated documentation to the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS). Use the Plant Exploration Tracking System (PETS), a component of the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN/GRIN-Global), to track incorporation into the NPGS of germplasm collected on plant explorations and entry of passport data into GRIN/GRIN-Global. In cooperation with U.S. explorers, NPGS curators, and collaborating foreign scientists, identify projects or expenditures that will increase the capacity of the germplasm donor country to conserve genetic resources and concurrently serve as benefit-sharing for an exploration. Provide support when necessary to increase or characterize germplasm, train host country scientists in country or at external locations, improve infrastructure of the genetic resources program (seed storage or processing equipment, laboratory supplies, computers, etc.), or for other objectives. Arrange for funding of approved projects through specific cooperative agreements with host country institutions, travel arrangements for foreign scientists, or purchase of equipment or supplies.
3. Progress Report:
Thirteen plant explorations were coordinated in FY 14 through this ARS project. In cooperation with host country institutions, explorations took place in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Spain. Nine explorations also took place in the United States. Germplasm samples collected included genetic resources of ash, apricot, carrot, grape, lettuce, onion, pea, potato, quinoa, spinach, squash, oil crops, walnut, and herbaceous and woody ornamentals. These accessions are new sources of genetic diversity that will soon be available from the National Plant Germplasm for scientists worldwide to use in crop breeding and other research.