Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: National Clonal Germplasm Repository

2012 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Strategically expand and improve genetic resource collections and associated information for priority fruit, nut, and other specialty temperate climate crops (and their wild relatives), especially, hazelnut, strawberries, hop, mint, pear, currants, gooseberries, brambles, blueberries, cranberries, hardy kiwifruit, and other small fruits. Strategically characterize, genotype and phenotype, priority fruit, nut, and other specialty crop genetic resources adapted to temperate climates for key traits such as genetic variability, adaptation, product quality, and other horticultural traits. Efficiently and effectively conserve and regenerate priority fruit, nut, and other specialty crop genetic resources adapted to temperate climates, and distribute disease-free samples and associated information worldwide.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Plant exploration expeditions will be taken in North Africa, Central Asia, Northern Europe for pome fruit and in China, Japan, Russia, Korea, Central and South America for berry crops. Plants from these areas will fill current gaps. Collecting trips will occur in collaboration with foreign scientist and quarantine officials. Horticultural and botanical experts in taxonomy will be consulted to verify the identity of accessions. Primary collections of woody plants will be maintained in field collections. Primary collections of herbacious perennial genera will be maintained in a screenhouse and repropagated. Duplicate plants will be maintained on site. Available plant materials will be distributed for research purposes. Backup hazelnut collection will be maintained in Parlier, California. Backup of small fruit, mint, and hop will occur on site. Tropical or sub tropical accessions will be protected from temperature extremes. Core collections will be propagated in vitro and in cryogenic storage at NCGRP, Fort Collins. Primary collections will be tested for pathogens and infected accessions will be subjected to therapy procedures to develop pathogen free replacments. Microsatellite fingerprinting sets will evaluate genetic diversity and determine clonal identity of blueberries, strawberries, hazelnuts, and pears. Clonal collections will be evaluated for high priority phenotypic characters including phenology, plant habit, fruit characters, and incidence of naturally occurring disease. Molecular and phenotypic information will be loaded to the public GRIN database.

3. Progress Report:
The National Clonal Germplasm Repository- Corvallis, Oregon, has strategically improved the genebank collection. This facility conserves about 10,000 seed and plant accessions of about 30 genera of horticultural and specialty crops. These included the main crops of hazelnuts, strawberries, hops, mint, pears, currants, gooseberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and other crop wild relatives. To strategically expand the gene bank holdings, plant collecting expeditions were taken to Albania and Nova Scotia to obtain temperate fruit and nut crops and obtained more than 200 new accessions. For the distribution objective, the NCGR shipped 7670 accessions for more than 670 orders received. Among other projects plant materials were distributed for studies on cryogenic preservation, genetic fingerprinting, and bioactive chemicals constituents. The staff of the repository has strategically characterized (genotyping and phenotyping) many of the genera in the collection. A new strawberry was discovered native to Oregon. Highbush and half-high blueberries were evaluated in a collaborative project with private growers on the Kenai Peninsula. Ohelo fruits, Hawaiian blueberry relatives, were analyzed for chemical constituents. Genebank collections were assayed for viruses and viroids. DNA-based molecular characterization was performed on blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry genetic resources. For genotyping, fingerprints were developed for strawberry, raspberry, pear, blueberry, quince cultivars using simple sequence repeat markers. Seed storage and germination protocols were developed for assigned crops. New tissue culture media were developed to improve the growth of pear cultures. Internal bacterial contaminants were identified in hazelnut trees. The maternal family tree for strawberries was evaluated. The diversity of black raspberry cultivars and species was determined through molecular marker evaluation.

4. Accomplishments
1. New strawberry species named in Oregon. While the North American continent is known to have native strawberries, some areas where strawberries grow wild have not yet been fully examined. ARS staff in Corvallis, Oregon, discovered a new species of strawberry (with 10 sets of chromosomes) native to the Oregon High Cascade Mountains. The species was named: Fragaria cascadensis Hummer. This species represents additional diversity of the native species of strawberry previously unrecognized in Native American flora. This and other species with this large amount of chromosomes could form a new class of cultivated strawberries. The value of hybrid strawberry production in the US in 2009 was $2.1 billion.

2. Red raspberry fingerprinting. Confirming the identity of red raspberry cultivars can be difficult by looking at the plant, especially if it is not fruiting season. ARS scientists at Corvallis, Oregon, developed a set of molecular marker fingerprints that confirmed identity of many cultivars but it pointed out some misidentified ones as well. These markers can also identify relatives like blackberry and black raspberry cultivars. The availability of these markers allows growers and nurserymen to confirm cultivar identity and avoid millions of dollars in litigation from selling incorrect cultivars.

3. Identification of bacteria inside hazelnut trees. Internal bacterial contaminants inhibit growth of in-vitro grown hazelnut shoots and cause problems during commercial production. ARS scientists in Corvallis, Oregon, identified several types of the bacteria. Clean in vitro grown hazelnut shoots is the first step for use by commercial micropropagation laboratories. The hazelnut industry in Oregon was worth $89.3 million in 2011 and there is a big demand for rapid production of new cultivars.

4. Improved tissue culture medium for pears. The nursery industry would like efficient techniques to produce thousands of pear plants in a short time. Micropropagation of pear trees is used to provide quick access to growers of new cultivars or rootstocks. Pear culture medium is not optimized for the growth of a wide range of pears. ARS scientists in Corvallis, Oregon, determined that modifications of the mineral nutrients of a standard medium was needed. This new medium improved the growth and propagation of many pears. Pear production in 2011 was $387 million and this could increase with better access to rapidly propagated rootstocks.

5. Maternal family tree of American strawberry species. Researchers have wondered about the origin of North American strawberry species. ARS researchers in Corvallis, Oregon, examined DNA sequences from the chloroplast. This part of the plant has DNA that is inherited only from the mother’s side of the family. A strawberry named “bracteata” was found to be the most likely “mother” for the development of many North American strawberry species. Knowing these genes will help breeders determine selections of parental lines for hybrid strawberry development. The value of hybrid strawberry production in the US in 2009 was $2.1 billion.

6. Diversity of black raspberries. How different are traditional black raspberry cultivars? Many of them look very much alike. Researchers at ARS in Corvallis, Oregon, examined genetic diversity in 148 wild and cultivated black raspberries using 21 molecular markers. The markers indicated that wild black raspberry germplasm has diverse genes that have never before been used and are an untapped resource available for future breeding. These wild accessions can be crossed with named cultivars and to improve black raspberry cultivars. Better black raspberry cultivars will result in a bigger industry and higher profits to growers. Black raspberries are a high value crop with a gross revenue potential of $12,000 per acre or more (retail) in peak production seasons.

7. Blueberry relatives obtained from a Canadian Collection. Recently a major blueberry collection in Nova Scotia, Canada, became vulnerable to loss due to funding difficulties. ARS staff from Corvallis, Oregon, participated in an international plant exchange (Canada-US) to obtain about 80 blueberry species representatives from North America from this collection. Berry breeders and researchers are looking to expand production of berry fruits into cooler northerly latitudes. These northern distributed species have genes that could allow breeders and researchers to develop new cultivars adapted to the north. This wild germplasm will expand genes available to the > 50 public and private berry breeders throughout the US and the world. The general public will benefit from having greater access to locally grown blueberries.

8. Hardy quince identified. The pear industry uses quince as a dwarfing rootstock. Unfortunately the quince that has been traditionally used is not as cold hardy as the pears, so this approach cannot be used for growing pears in northern latitudes. ARS researchers have identified 22 very cold-hardy Cydonia genotypes as potential productive, dwarfing pear rootstocks. Several quince clones exhibited freeze tolerance equal to or greater than the current ‘Old Home’ x ‘Farmingdale’ pear clones widely used today in the US. These cold-hardy quince could expand the US pear production from the San Joaquin Valley to northern states. Worldwide, there are about 106,000 acres of quince in production with a total crop of 335,000 metric tons.

9. Albania plant collection. Fruit and nut tree germplasm committees determined that there were gaps in fruit and nut species from Albania. ARS staff from Corvallis, Oregon organized and participated in a plant collecting expeditions to Albania in fall 2011. Nearly 100 seed and plant samples representing 32 plant taxa were collected including: hazelnuts, figs, walnuts, apples, olives, pistachios, plums, peaches, apricots, and pears. This germplasm could provide significant new genes for breeders and researchers who develop these temperate fruit and nut crops. These 100 accessions will be available through the US national clonal germplasm repository genebanks in Corvallis, Oregon, and Davis, California.

10. Analysis of ‘ohelo fruits. The Hawaiian blueberry relative, ‘ohelo, has not previously been examined for chemical content. ARS scientists in Corvallis, Oregon and Hilo, Hawaii, determined that highbush ‘ohelo fruit (blueberry species relative from Hawaii) could have from 1 to 2 the amount of proanthocyanadin oligomers, which are constituents that could be active in reducing urinary tract disorders, as compared with cranberry. This finding suggests the potential use of ‘ohelo berries as a functional food.

Review Publications
Kovalchuk, I., Nasibulinal, A., Reed, B.M. 2012. In vitro cold-storage duration of sour cherry (Prunus cerasus L) shoots is affected by carbon source and nitrogen concentration. Acta Horticulturae. 918:167-176.

Reed, B.M., Uchendu, E., Wada, S., Zee, F.T. 2012. Alternative storage for germplasm of native hawaiian berries. Acta Horticulturae. 918:113-120.

Dossett, M., Bassil, N.V., Finn, C.E. 2012. High resolution melting detects sequence polymorphism in rubus occidentalis L. monomorphic microsatellite markers. Acta Horticulturae. 926:91-95.

Hoefer, M., Reed, B.M. 2012. Cryopreservation of strawberry genetic resources in Germany. Acta Horticulturae. 918:139-146.

Bassil, N.V., Postman, J.D., Hummer, K.E., Sugar, D., Mota, J., Williams, R. 2011. Quince (Cydonia oblonga) genetic relationships determined using microsatellite markers. Acta Horticulturae. 909:75-83.

Einhorn, T., Turner, J., Gibeaut, D., Postman, J.D., Mota, J., Williams, R. 2011. Characterization of cold hardiness in quince: potential pear rootstock candidates for northern pear production regions. Acta Horticulturae. 909:137-143.

Hummer, K.E. 2011. From villous strawberry shams to hairy huckleberries: the wild side of berry exploration. HortScience. 46(11):1440-1443.

Wada, S., Reed, B.M. 2011. Standardizing germination protocols for diverse raspberry and blackberry species. Scientia Horticulturae. 132:42-49.

Hummer, K.E., Pomper, K., Postman, J.D., Graham, C.J., Stover, E.W., Mercure, E.W., Aradhya, M.K., Crisosto, C.H., Ferguson, L., Thompson, M., Byers, P., Zee, F.T. 2012. Emerging fruit crops. Book Chapter. p. 97-147.

Dossett, M., Bassil, N.V., Lewers, K.S., Finn, C.E. 2012. Genetic diversity in wild and cultivated black raspberry evaluated by simple sequence repeat markers. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution. DOI:10.1007/s10722-012-9809-8.

Hummer, K.E. 2011. Proceedings of the third ISHS international symposium of plant genetic resources volume 1. Leuven, Belgium:International Society for Horticultural Science. 918(1):1-457.

Hummer, K.E. 2011. Proceedings of the third ISHS international symposium on plant genetic resources volume 2. Leuven, Belgium:International Society for Horticultural Science. 918(2):458-968.

Barney, D.L., Hummer, K.E., Robertson, N.L., Gilmore, B.S. 2012. Ribes L. gene bank management in the United States. Acta Horticulturae. 946:73-76.

Zalapa, J.E., Simon, P.W., Hummer, K.E., Bassil, N.V., Senalik, D.A., Zhu, H., Mccown, B.H., Zeldin, E., Speers, J., Hyman, J. 2012. Mining and validation of pyrosequenced simple sequence repeats (SSRs) from American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.). Theoretical and Applied Genetics. 124(1):87-96.

Gilmore, B.S., Bassil, N.V., Hummer, K.E. 2011. DNA extraction protocols from dormant buds of twelve woody plant genera. Journal of American Pomological Society. 65(4):201-207.

Bassil, N.V., Nyberg, A.M., Hummer, K.E., Graham, J., Dossett, M., Finn, C.E. 2012. A universal fingerprinting set for red raspberry. Acta Horticulturae. 946:83-87.

Wada, S., Reed, B.M. 2011. Optimized scarification protocols improve germination of diverse Rubus germplasm. Scientia Horticulturae. 130:660-664.

Jenderek, M.M., Forsline, P.L., Postman, J.D., Stover, E.W., Ellis, D.D. 2011. Effect of geographical location, year and cultivar on survival of Malus sp. dormant buds stored in vapors of liquid nitrogen. HortScience. 46:1230-1234.

Dossett, M., Bassil, N.V., Finn, C.E. 2012. SSR fingerprinting of black raspberry cultivars shows discrepancies in identification. Acta Horticulturae. 946:49-53.

Rowland, L.J., Bell, D.J., Alkharouf, N., Bassil, N.V., Drummond, F., Beers, L., Buck, E., Finn, C.E., Graham, J., Mccallum, S., Hancock, J., Olmstead, J., Main, D. 2012. Generating genomic tools for blueberry improvement. International Journal of Fruit Science. 12:276-287.

Rowland, L.J., Alkharouf, N., Darwish, O., Ogden, E.L., Polashock, J.J., Bassil, N.V., Main, D. 2012. Generation and analysis of blueberry transcriptome sequences from leaves, developing fruit, and flower buds from cold acclimation through deacclimation. Biomed Central (BMC) Plant Biology. 12:46.

Buck, E., C., W., Hurst, R., Mcghie, T., Scalzo, J., Allan, A., Rowland, L.J., Bassil, N.V. 2012. Progress in blueberry research in New Zealand. International Journal of Fruit Science. 12:304-315.

Hummer, K.E., Postman, J.D., Bassil, N.V., Nathewet, P., Yanagi, T. 2012. Chromosome Numbers and Flow Cytometry of Strawberry Wild Relatives. Acta Horticulturae. 948:169-174.

Hummer, K.E. 2012. A new species of Fragaria (Roseaceae) from Oregon. Journal of Botanical Research Institute of Texas. 6(1):9-15.

Hummer, K.E., Bors, R. 2012. Blue honeysuckle list 47. HortScience. 47(5):540.

Yao, S., Hummer, K.E., Luby, J. 2012. Cold hardiness and foliar disease resistance of North American and Asian Fragaria. Journal of American Pomological Society. 66(2):46-55.

Barney, D.L., Hummer, K.E. 2012. Northern highbush and half-high blueberries on the Alaskan Kenai peninsula:preliminary observations. Journal of American Pomological Society. 66(3):145-152.

Mccallum, S., Woodhead, M., Jorgensen, L., Gordon, S., Brennan, R., Graham, J., Hackett, C., Rowland, L.J., Hancock, J., Olmstead, J., Bassil, N.V. 2012. Developing tools for long-term breeding of blueberry germplasm for UK production. International Journal of Fruit Science. 12:294-303.

Hummer, K.E., Jamieson, A.R., Newell, R. 2012. Beyond botany to genetic resource preservation: the S. P. Vander Kloet Vaccinium L. collections. Botany. 90(5):337-346.

Last Modified: 06/26/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page