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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Griffin, Georgia » Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit » Research » Research Project #434296

Research Project: Conservation, Characterization, Evaluation, and Distribution of Grain, Oilseed, Vegetable, Subtropical and Tropical Legume, and Warm Season Grass Genetic Resources and Associated Information

Location: Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit

Project Number: 6046-21000-012-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Feb 28, 2018
End Date: Feb 27, 2023

Objective:
1. Efficiently and effectively acquire, distribute, and maintain the safety, genetic integrity, health, and viability of priority grain, oilseed, vegetable, subtropical and tropical legume, and warm season grass genetic resources and associated information. 1.A. Acquire genetic resources to expand the diversity of priority crops and crop wild relatives (CWR) available from the genebank via collection, exchange or other appropriate means. 1.B. Conserve and maintain over 94,000 accessions of priority genetic resources and their associated information, periodically assess these priority genetic resources for viability, trueness to type, and health, and distribute accessions upon request. 1.C. Conduct field and greenhouse regenerations of priority crops and CWR to replenish and safeguard high quality genetic resources in state-of-the-art genebank. 2. Develop more effective genetic resource maintenance, evaluation, or characterization methods and apply them to priority grain, oilseed, vegetable, subtropical and tropical legume, and warm season grass genetic resources. Record and disseminate evaluation and characterization data via GRIN-Global and other data sources. 2.A. Using phenotypic descriptors, evaluate priority crops and CWR for agronomic and horticultural traits and incorporate this data into GRIN-Global. 2.B. Develop and apply nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), rapid N exceed [nitrogen/protein] analyzer (RNEA), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), gas chromatography (GC), and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) procedures to evaluate variation in oil, protein, sugar content, amino acid composition, fatty acid composition, flavonoids, flavors, and other key phytochemicals in priority crops and CWR and incorporate this data into GRIN-Global. 2.C. Develop and apply DNA markers to assess phylogenetic relationships, genetic diversity, population structure, and association with phenotypic traits of priority crops and CWR. Enter DNA genetic marker characterization data into GRIN-Global or other databases (such as GenBank). 3. With other NPGS genebanks and Crop Germplasm Committees, develop, update, document, and implement best management practices and Crop Vulnerability Statements for priority grain, oilseed, vegetable, subtropical and tropical legume, and warm season grass genetic resource and information management.

Approach:
Curators will acquire plant genetic resources from collection trips, donations, and exchanges with other gene banks and state universities to adequately conserve the range of crop genetic diversity. Seed from each accession maintained in the collection will be preserved in cold storage to optimize long-term seed viability and reduce the frequency of regeneration. Efforts will continue to conduct standard germination tests on the entire range of crop and crop wild relative accessions in the germplasm collection with emphasis on testing new material and retesting select inventories at ten year intervals. Plant genetic resources (seeds, in-vitro cultures, plants, cuttings, corms, and rhizomes) and associated information will be sent to users worldwide in response to requests received by email, internet, phone, and U.S. mail. Accessions with low seed viability, low seed numbers, original seed only, and age of seed will be targeted for regeneration. Curators will observe and collect phenotypic data using descriptors for each of the accessions/crops grown for regeneration or evaluation. Additional descriptors on classification, local adaptability, and other traits of agricultural importance will be recorded as opportunity permits. Valuable biochemical traits such as oil/fatty acid and protein/amino acid content in oil seed crops; flavonoids and anthocyanins in legumes; flavor and resveratrol in peanuts; protein content in Vigna; protein and mineral content in pearl millet seeds; and fruit color and flavor components in pepper (Capsicum spp.) will be collected, analyzed and made available on the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN-Global). Genetic characterization and evaluation of plant germplasm will be conducted. For genetic characterization of little bluestem, sweet potato and pepper, previously published simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers are available and will be utilized as the focus of the research is not on marker development but rather characterization. For peanut and sorghum, where advanced genomic tools are available, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers will be used for characterization, association analysis, and design of functional DNA markers. Curators will consult with Crop Germplasm Committees (CGCs) to develop, update, document, and implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) and Crop Vulnerability Statements (CVS) for crops conserved in the genebank. All data including passport, regeneration, and characterization data will be submitted electronically to the Information Technology Specialist or Seed Storage Manager and their designated staff for local storage and uploading to the GRIN-Global database.