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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Subtropical Horticulture Research

2008 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The primary objectives of this project are 1) conserving of tropical/subtropical ornamental crop genetic resourses and associated information important for the evaluation and utilization of that material; 2) the development and application of new or improved horticultural evaluation procedures and genetic marker-based approaches for genetic diversity assessment of the preceding genetic resourses; 3) genetic improvement efforts directed to developing new, superior tropical/subtropical ornamental germplasm; and 4) the transfer of technologiy in the form of tropical/subtropical ormamental crop genetic resourses, associated information, and new, superior tropical/subtropical ornamental germplasm to researchers and breeders worldwide.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Collect new accessions of subtropical/tropical ornamental plants that have commerical potential in the U.S. Evaluate newly collected accessions and existing material, primarily flowering trees and shrubs already on site, using phenotypic characters and molecular makers. Organize the information such that it can be used as descriptors for inclusion in the GRIN system. Utilize the molecular and phenotypical analysis to breed improved germplasm in support of the ornamental industry. Communicate and coordinate subtropical/tropical ornamental horticultural research with local and regional industry, universites, and foreign germplasm effort in Florida, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii.

3. Progress Report
Progress on this project relates to National Program 301 Plant Genetic Resources, Genomics, and Genetics Improvement, Component 2: Crop Informatics, Genomics, and Genetic Analyses. New germplasm of Lagestroemia speciosa and Tabebuia species have been established in field evaluation plantings. Seed of rare palms and cycds were purchased from, and are being grown in the nursery for eventual planting. Fifty accessions of tropical conifers have been received through germplasm exchange with the Montgomery Botanical Center, Atlanta Botanical Garden and Royal Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh. Thirteen new simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were developed for Zamia by data-mining the Zamia Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) library deposited in GenBank. Analysis of the WRKY gene alignments across the palm subtribe Attaleinae (which includes such important ornamentals as coconut and Queen palm) is underway. Acquisition of new molecular genetic data has been stymied by problems in the new building that have prevented us from using our lab equipment.

4. Accomplishments
1. WRKY gene development from Cocos nucifera. WRKY gene development for phylogentic analysis. WRKY transcription factors are genes that get their name from the conserved amino acid sequences that each translated gene begins with. The letters are an international code used to represent each of the 20 recognized amino acids that make up proteins. These are the amino acids that make up this name: W = Tryptophan; R = Arginine; K = Lysine; Y = Tyrosine. We designed primers from eight single or low copy, putatively independent WRKY loci isolated from Cocos nucifera. These could successfully amplify DNA from all genera of the subtribe Attaleinae sampled, as well as from three outgroup taxa representing subtribes Bactridinae and Elaeidinae. This accomplishment aligns with National Program 301, Plant Genetic Resources, Genomics, and Genetics Improvement, Component 1: Plant and Microbial Genetic Resource Management, Problem Statement 1B: Assess the systematic relationships and genetic diversity of crop genetic resources.

5. Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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