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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory

2009 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
Identify key germplasm gaps in NPGS collections, prioritize the acquisition needs, identify opportunities for acquisition, and secure needed genetic resources through cross-institutional linkages, plant exchanges, explorations, and importation. Develop approaches to share benefits with host countries for providing NPGS access to needed germplasm. Expand, enhance, and maintain the online database (GRIN-Taxonomy)that provides access to, and promotes the proper and consistent use of validated, standard botanical and cultivated scientific plant names, taxonomic classifications, and associated data by genetic resource managers and researchers worldwide. Expand the nomenclatural, classificatory, and ecogeographical information available on GRIN for highly diverse specialty crop taxa.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
To identify NPGS germplasm gaps, we will assemble and analyze systematic and ecogeographic data on the taxa in the crop genepool, current ex situ holdings of germplasm of taxa in the crop genepool, reported problems in the crop that can be addressed by additional germplasm, reported needs of breeders or other researchers for new germplasm and in situ conservation status of taxa in the genepool genetic resources. Maintain all of the identified NPGS germplasm gaps in a searchable database. Prioritize the identified collection needs to acquire the more valuable and most threatened accessible genetic resources that are needed. Priority factors include: interest of the curator and CGC in acquiring new germplasm, potential of the target germplasm to solve the identified problem(s) in the crop, magnitude of the identified gaps in the NPGS, accessibility to germplasm in countries within the distribution of the taxa in the genepool, and the projected economic value of use of the targeted germplasm. Administer the Plant Exploration and Exchange Program to obtain the needed germplasm. Monitor the latest taxonomic literature, through routine literature searches to detect any changes to existing taxonomy and/or nomenclature for possible adoption in GRIN. Correct authorship and spelling or other details of publication of a name to ensure the accuracy of this information. Conform all nomenclature to the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN). Cite in GRIN the literature or other bases for taxonomic or nomenclatural decisions. New classifications based on molecular evidence, will be considered for GRIN taxonomy provided that they conform to acceptable nomenclature in ICBN. Synonyms accepted in recent literature will be added. Common names in French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, or Japanese, will be added in conformity to GRIN standards and reflecting native scripts when possible. The sources for all common names, the negative economic effects of alternate host plants for plant diseases or pests, and of weeds and poisonous plants will be recorded on GRIN. Native distributions will be documented by country (or state for large countries) and these records linked to more detailed external web resources. Information on non-native distributions will also be provided, and for invasive or potentially invasive species distribution data will be evaluated in comparison to data from federal and state invasive species initiatives.

3. Progress Report
NPGS germplasm needs for all major U.S. crops are being reviewed by compiling origin and improvement status data for the NPGS accessions of the crop and the related species, listed in the Germplasm Resources Information Network and comparing them with the geographical range record for these taxa. The important genetic relatives of the 15 major U.S. crops, their representation in the National Plant Germplasm System and source country were identified through a new program initiated through this project to facilitate the identification of germplasm gaps. Fifteen plant explorations in seven different countries and the U.S. were conducted in compliance with the Convention on Biological Diversity. Benefit sharing with the host countries included sharing of germplasm, purchase of equipment, training of scientists, and upgrade of genebank facilities were implemented. These accessions are new sources of genetic diversity that have been added to the NPGS and will soon be available to plant breeders and other researchers worldwide. The existing collaborative projects in Ecuador, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Syria, Morocco, and Tunisia were maintained and supported. Continued support to the germplasm conservation activities of native U.S. Fraxinus species severely threatened by the Emerald Ash Borer. Helped organize and participate in the multi-agency seed collection coordinating meeting and funding seed scouting and collection efforts in multiple regions of the U.S. A second collection of Ash germplasm indigenous to China was organized, planned, and implemented in collaboration with Beijing Botanic Garden and a U.S. consortium of Botanic Gardens. Nearly 4,000 taxon records were updated in GRIN Taxonomy during FY2009. About 2,000 of these were new additions to GRIN, mostly in response to the 130 requests received from National Plant Germplasm System workers during this period, such as to accommodate newly acquired accessions from the Seeds of Success project of the Bureau of Land Management, for the Western Regional Plant Introduction Station, or those from the Millennium Seed Bank, for the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation. New software for the maintenance of GRIN taxonomic data was thoroughly tested and is now implemented, and some adjustments to taxonomy data tables were accomplished to expand data capabilities and permit better documentation of GRIN Taxonomy data. An exhaustive list of several thousand medicinal plant species names has been thoroughly integrated with the names in GRIN Taxonomy which is needed for establishing a long-term strategy for the preservation of medicinal plant germplasm. Assisted in the distribution of 55,000 samples of NPGS accessions to researchers in 60 different countries throughout the world and the import of 18 shipments of germplasm from 9 different foreign countries for U.S. researchers and the NPGS.

4. Accomplishments
1. NPGS Germplasm needs for Wheat. Plant Exchange Office (PEO) compiled origin and improvement status data for the NPGS accessions of the crop wheat and related taxa listed in the Germplasm Resources Information Network comparing them with the geographical range record for this crop group to identify the NPGS germplasm needs. The identified needs were then prioritized for collecting and exchange based on procedures in the approved research plan.

2. Identification of Crop Gene Pool Relatives in GRIN Taxonomy. A project to determine the important genetic relatives of all major and minor crops of importance to U.S. agriculture, and to provide a full treatment of these in GRIN Taxonomy, was initiated in FY2009. The work is being carried out in consultation with National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) curators and Crop Germplasm Committees for the crops involved. The information generated assists NPGS workers in developing strategies for acquisition of missing genetic resources of crop relatives. Work on 20 of the most economically important crops has already been concluded, identifying over 700 primary, secondary, and tertiary gene pool relatives for these crops, and a web interface to query and retrieve the results of this project is now operational.

3. Genetic resources distributed to scientists worldwide. Assisted in the distribution of 55,000 samples of NPGS accessions to researchers in 60 different countries throughout the world and the import of 18 shipments of germplasm from 9 different foreign countries for U.S. researchers and the National Plant Germplasm System. Making germplasm readily available to scientist for use in production and basic research is the most important justification for crop conservation.

Last Modified: 05/23/2017
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