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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Plant Introduction Research

2010 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 third progress report of Project 3625-21000-053-00D, initiated on 04/14/2008. Many of the activities are seasonal and overlap fiscal years. Cold, wet spring weather delayed or hurt much of the vegetable plantings; all plantings were severely damaged by a July 17th storm with 75 mph straight line winds, heavy rain, and subsequent heavy rains and flooding. About 590 new accessions were acquired. Since August 1, 2009, 1056 accessions of maize, vegetables, ornamentals and other crops were planted for regeneration; 1201 accessions were harvested; about 4.5% of collection holdings were tested for viability; 2026 accessions from all crops were backed up at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Ft. Collins, CO and 1,545 deposited for backup at Svalbard, Norway. Nearly 3,000 crop data descriptors were loaded to the GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) system, and 1,397 plant or seed images were captured. Cryogenic storage protocols for Fraxinus (ash) buds, developed in collaboration with the NCGRP, are complete. The ability to store buds for future use may be critical if ash trees threatened by the Emerald Ash Borer cannot be maintained in the field. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is complete; an SCA was established to facilitate publication and dissemination. Evaluation data are being collected for 2010 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. Collaborative Daucus characterization and taxonomic identification are under way. All of the available maize inbreds (about 2750) are being evaluated phenotypically by teams in Ames, IA, Raleigh, NC, Columbia, MO, and Ithaca, NY, and genetically characterized. Record numbers of seed requests are anticipated for a fifth consecutive year. For the period August 1, 2009 to July 2, 2010: 30,101 germplasm items were distributed of 15,237 unique accessions to 948 recipients; 74% of the germplasm was requested by U.S. and 26% by international researchers. Maize comprised nearly 1/2 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 the replacement for the GRIN system, GRIN-Global, has been in progress for 30 months. Designed to provide a genebank information management system for the US and all world genebanks, the project is a partnership between the Global Crop Diversity Trust, USDA-ARS, and Bioversity. A Release Candidate was deployed in early 2010, a training session for international system administrators held in March, and a prototype public-facing website demonstrated to stakeholders for their input in July.

4. Accomplishments

5. Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
Management Unit personnel mentored American Indian Student interns interested in plant science and bioinformatics for the fifth summer. These students worked with the maize collection, the MaizeGDB (genome database), and medicinal and Brassica plant research. This effort is supported by an outreach component of an NSF grant "Plant Genetics and Genomics Outreach to Native Americans", by ARS, and by the George Washington Carver Intern Program managed by Iowa State University's Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Studies (MANRRS) program personnel.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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