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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Plant Introduction Research

2011 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The long-term objectives of this project are to acquire, conserve, evaluate, characterize, document and distribute high-quality plant genetic resource (PGR) collections and associated information for research applications to support sustainable agricultural productivity. Objective 1: Strategically expand the genetic diversity in genebank collections and improve associated information for priority maize, oilseed, vegetable, pseudocereal, forage, woody ornamental, medicinal, bioenergy, and other specialty and industrial crop genetic resources. Objective 2: Conserve and regenerate priority maize, oilseed, vegetable, pseudocereal, forage, woody ornamental, medicinal, bioenergy, and other specialty and industrial crop genetic resources efficiently and effectively, and distribute pathogen-tested samples and associated information worldwide. Objective 3: Strategically characterize (“genotype”) and evaluate (“phenotype”) priority Zea (maize and wild relatives), Daucus, Helianthus, Coriandrum, Echinacea, Hypericum, and Melilotus genetic resources for molecular markers, morphological descriptors, taxonomic verification, and key agronomic or horticultural traits, such as maize starch content for bioenergy production. Objective 4: Develop superior information management software for optimally supporting the needs of genetic resource curators, researchers, breeders, and other users.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
To accomplish these objectives, USDA-ARS and ISU staff of the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station (NCRPIS) work collaboratively with the National Germplasm Research Laboratory (NGRL) to acquire and document germplasm in the Germplasm Resource Information Network (GRIN) database, the National Center for Genetic Resource Preservation (NCGRP), and a wide array of researchers and genebank personnel in the U.S. and abroad. Expected outcomes from research and service activities include available, high-quality plant germplasm for distribution; documentation and transfer of evaluation and characterization information that enables targeting of PGR to meet research objectives; improved information management tools to support curatorial, research and other germplasm user-community needs.

3. Progress Report
This is the fourth progress report of Project 3625-21000-053-00D, initiated 04/14/2008. Many activities are seasonal and overlap fiscal years. Cold, wet spring weather challenged planting; unlike the 2009 windows of opportunity which allowed reasonable progress. To date, no severe storm damage has occurred. From August 1, 2010 to July 31, 2011, 779 regeneration attempts were made for accessions of maize, vegetables, ornamentals and other crops; 1170 were harvested (2010 plantings); about 3.6% of collection holdings were tested for viability, a sharp decline due to shrinking student labor resources; 2388 accessions were backed up at the ARS National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP) in Ft. Collins, CO and 1,936 deposited for backup at Svalbard, Norway. Nearly 17,720 crop data descriptors were loaded to the GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) system, and 1,482 plant/seed images captured. Cryogenic storage protocols for Fraxinus (ash) buds were developed with the NCGRP in 2011. The ability to store buds for future use is critical if ash trees threatened by the Emerald Ash Borer cannot be maintained in the field. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is complete; a Specific Cooperative Agreement (SCA) was extended a year ago to facilitate publication and dissemination. Necessary documentation was provided to procurement personnel who have been asked to expedite the process to authorize publication. Evaluation data are being collected for 2011 increases and observation plantings. Wild Helianthus is being evaluated for resistance to Sclerotinia rot – 250 accessions were tested in the greenhouse and 25 advanced to field trials at two locations. A second year of collaborative Daucus characterization and taxonomic identification is underway. All available maize inbreds (about 2750) were evaluated phenotypically in 2010 by teams in Ames, IA, Raleigh, NC, Columbia, MO, and Ithaca, NY. The Ames staff grew them again in 2011 due to 2010 storm losses. Tissue captured from 2010 samples was genetically characterized via SNP analysis by the ARS lab in Ithaca, NY. FY11 seed requests were the highest on record, with 33,498 items of 16,401 unique accessions distributed to 900 requestors; 28% were requested by internationals and 72% by domestic requestors. Maize comprised 44% of all orders; lines with recently expired plant variety protection certificates are popular. Vegetables comprised about 25% of all distributions. Large numbers of sunflower, other oilseeds, spinach, and melons, and woody ornamentals used in the NC7 Regional Trials were distributed. The development of GRIN-Global to replace GRIN (Germplasm Resource Information Network) is near completion. Designed to provide a genebank information management system for the U.S. and all world genebanks, the project is a partnership among the Global Crop Diversity Trust, USDA-ARS, and Bioversity. Version 0.9 was released to testers in spring 2011. A training session for international system administrators was held in Ames in November, 2010, and a prototype public-facing website demonstrated to stakeholders at the Plant and Animal Genomes XIX meeting in January 2011.

4. Accomplishments

Review Publications
Kovach, D.A., Widrlechner, M.P., Brenner, D.M. 2010. Variation in Seed Dormancy in Echinochloa and the Development of a Standard Protocol for Germination Testing. Seed Science and Technology. 38:559-571.

Widrlechner, M.P., Thompson, J.R., Kapler, E.J., Kordecki, K., Dixon, P.M., Gates, G. 2009. A Test of Four Models to Predict the Risk of Naturalization of Non-native Woody Plants in the Chicago Region. Journal of Environmental Horticulture. 27(4):241-250.

Qu, L., Widrlechner, M.P. 2011. Variation in the Breeding System of Prunella vulgaris L. HortScience. 46(5):688-692.

Oh, C., Price, J., Brindley, M., Widrlechner, M.P., Qu, L., Mccoy, J., Murphy, P., Hauck, C., Maury, W. 2011. Inhibition of HIV-1 infection by aqueous extracts of Prunella vulgaris L. Virology Journal. 8:118.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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