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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Aberdeen, Idaho » Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research » Research » Research Project #413018


Location: Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research

2011 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
Conserve and distribute a wide range of small grains genetic diversity and associated information to researchers and breeders worldwide. Strategically evaluate (phenotype) small grains genetic resources for priority biotic and abiotic stress resistance, quality factors, and other priority agronomic traits, and incorporate phenotypic data into the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) and/or other databases. Make newly-found major genes and adult-plant genes for Ug99 stem rust resistance available to breeders for incorporation into adapted germplasm for the United States. Characterize the genetic variability in small grain genebank collections via genotyping with leading edge genetic marker technology and geographic information systems.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Acquisition priorities include the wild relatives of Triticum, Hordeum, Avena, and Oryza to fill species and ecogeographic gaps in the crop collections. Geographic regions of special interest are the Caucasus and Central Asia. These gaps will be primarily addressed by collection expeditions and exchanges with other genebanks. All acquisitions will follow USDA-APHIS protocols to avoid the introduction of harmful diseases and insects. Mapping populations and other genetic resources developed in the Barley and Wheat Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAP) will be stored and distributed as part of National Small Grains Collection (NSGC) genetic stock collections. Established procedures will be used to maintain and regenerate all NSGC germplasm accessions, with special attention to seed preparation and planting, plant pathogen monitoring, harvest, and laboratory processing. Seed will be provided to the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation for safety back up. New information technology will be identified to increase the quality, accessibility, and value of the data collected. The project will either conduct or coordinate systematic evaluations of important traits. The small grains Crop Germplasm Committees (CGC) have previously developed lists of descriptors for evaluation and are consulted regularly for evaluation priorities. Several evaluations, ongoing for a number of years and considered high priority by the CGC, will be continued. Ug99 stem rust resistance research will focus on identifying new major and adult-plant genes in wheat landraces and making the new sources of resistance available to breeders for transfer to adapted germplasm for all regions of the U.S. Evaluation of rice germplasm will be coordinated at the USDA-ARS Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center, Stuttgart, Arkansas and data will be returned to Aberdeen for inclusion in GRIN. SSR markers will be employed to genotype the NSGC core subsets of wheat and barley, totaling 5,500 and 2,577 accessions, respectively. To eliminate variation due to heterogeneity within accessions, single-plant-selections for each core accession will be generated for genotyping. Resulting data will be analyzed to better understand genetic variation within the collection, including the relationship between variation and geographic origin of accessions. Country, state/province, locality, and latitude/longitude data for NSGC accessions are maintained in GRIN. Traits of interest will be mapped and analyzed using GIS software and appropriate statistical techniques. Because stem and stripe rust of wheat and barley are of current concern worldwide, priority will be given to mapping the geographic origin of resistance. Accession genetic diversity in the core collections, based on molecular marker data will be mapped to better understand its relationship to accession geographic origin, to elucidate relations between geographic patterns of molecular diversity and trait diversity, and to do gap analysis to identify priority areas for future collection.

3. Progress Report
The National Small Grains Collection (NSGC) presently holds 139,655 accessions of the small grains (wheat, barley, oat, rye, triticale, rice, and related wild species). Laboratory analysis for barley and oat kernel color and weight continues using an instrument that produces precise color data (Foss GrainCheck 2312). Viability testing of more than 19,000 accessions was completed to assure that only high-quality seed is distributed to scientists. More than 6,500 accessions were regenerated in the past year. This resulted in the harvest of fresh seed to be placed in the NSGC storages, replacing older seed. More than 700 NSGC wheat landrace accessions were tested for resistance to the Ug99 stem rust race in the field location in Njoro, Kenya. This furthers our goal of identifying new genes for resistance to this devastating plant pathogen. To assess genetic diversity in the collection, DNA samples from the wheat and barley core subsets, consisting of 10% of the whole NSGC collections, were sent for analysis using a new 9,000 SNP array.

4. Accomplishments
1. NSGC germplasm distributed to scientists. Germplasm is the basis of small grains improvement. More than 44,000 NSGC seed samples were distributed from USDA-ARS National Small Grains Germplasm Research Facility, Aberdeen, Idaho, to scientists in more than 890 separate requests. Thirty percent of the requests were from scientists outside the United States. Seed was distributed for research purposes and for germplasm enhancement, including the development of new, improved cultivars for release to farmers.

2. Barley and oat kernel data entered into the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Precise, quantitative kernel color and 1000-kernel weight data for all NSGC barley accessions was completed in the laboratory at the USDA-ARS National Small Grains Germplasm Research Facility, Aberdeen, Idaho. Similar work is now underway for NSGC oat accessions. Data is available to scientists worldwide on GRIN. Identifying the genetic variability for these wheat and barley kernel characters will aid breeders in choosing appropriate parents. New barley and oat cultivars may be developed utilizing this information and germplasm.

Review Publications
Bockelman, H.E., Valkoun, J. 2010. Barley germplasm conservation and resources. Chapter 7 in barley: improvement, production, and uses. Blackwell Publishing, ED.S.E. Ullrich, Barley: Improvement, Production, and Uses, p. 144-159.

Adhikari, T.B., Hansen, J.M., Gurung, S., Bonman, J.M. 2011. Identification of New Sources of Resistance to Xanthomonas translucens pv. undulosa in Winter Wheat. Plant Disease. PDIS-10-10-0760-RE.R2.

Goates, B., Peterson, G.L., Bowden, R.L., Maddux, L.D. 2011. Analysis of induction and establishment of dwarf bunt of wheat under marginal climatic conditions.. Plant Disease. 95:478-484.