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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory

2013 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:
This project has terminated and has been replaced with project 1245-21000-272-00D/424601 Acquisition of Plant Genetic Resources Through Domestic and International Plant Explorations and Associated Capacity-Building Partnerships. Over the life of the project, NPGS germplasm needs assessments were made for the following crops: Alfalfa (Medicago), Garlic, Onions and Leek (Allium), Lettuce (Lactuca), Soybean (Glycine), Walnut (Juglans), Apple (Malus), Cherry, Apricot, Plum, Almond, Peach (Prunus), Corn (Zea), Wheat (Triticum and Aegilops. Needs assessments were initiated for additional crops: Cucumber (Cucumis sativus), Melon (Cucumis melo), and Squash/Pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima, C. moschata, and C. pepo). Seventy-three explorations and four exchange expeditions were also completed in the United States and/or foreign countries during the 5 years of this project. All foreign explorations were conducted in accordance with host country laws on access to genetic resources and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Crops for which germplasm was collected include bean, cotton, grasses, forage legumes, leafy vegetables, small and tree fruits, new crops, nuts, potato, sunflower, tomato, wheat, woody and herbaceous landscape plants. Germplasm was deposited in the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System and host country institutions. Several types of benefit sharing with host countries, including purchase of equipment, training of scientists, and upgrade of genebank facilities, were implemented. The acquired accessions are new sources of genetic diversity that are already or soon will be available for crop improvement and other research in the U.S. and worldwide. Collaborative projects in support of plant explorations and exchanges were developed and maintained in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, China, Eucador, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Peru, Syria, Tunisia, and Ukraine. Support was maintained for germplasm collection and conservation activities of native U.S. Fraxinus species, which are severely threatened by the Emerald Ash Borer. Over the life of the project nearly 13,000 scientific names, both accepted names and synonyms, have been added to GRIN, along with 23,000 common names, 108,000 geographical distributions, 152,000 literature citations, and 7,900 economic impacts. The number of plants treated has grown by about 7,000 taxa. Over 23,000 species records were updated during this time. Over this five year project, PEO assisted in the distribution of 4,017 shipment containing 269,091 packets of NPGS accessions to researchers in 66 different countries throughout the world.

4. Accomplishments
1. New germplasm to support agricultural research. Thirteen plant explorations were approved and funded between October 2012 and April 2013 when this project was terminated. During the reporting period, four explorations took place, one in Albania and three in the United States. Germplasm collected included fruits, nuts, sunflower, ash and woody ornamentals. Readily available, well documented, genetically diverse collections of plant genetic resources are required by scientists to continuously develop new crops resistant to current environmental and biological treats. The acquired accessions are new sources of genetic diversity that are already or soon will be available for crop improvement and other research in the U.S. and worldwide.

2. Improved data records supporting germplasm conservation and use. Approximately 1,450 taxon records were updated in GRIN Taxonomy during the first half of fiscal year 2013. Around 1,040 of these were new additions to GRIN. These included accommodating additional accessions from the Seeds of Success project of the Bureau of Land Management and the ARS Western Regional Plant Introduction Station and adding names of Cucurbitaceae for the Southern Regional Plant Introduction Station. Updated and accurate data on genetic resources is essential for proper curation of germplasm collections and facilitates the selection of germplasm for use in research.

3. Second edition, global reference on plants of economic value. A 1,300-page publication, entitled World Economic Plants: a standard reference, second edition, treating more than 12,000 plants and including 52,000 common names in 27 languages, was published in January 2013. It includes a 700-page Catalog of Economic Plants, with their accepted scientific names, synonyms, common names, economic uses, and geographical distributions, followed by an extensive index to common names in Latin script, and several separate indices for the 6,020 common names in non-Latin script. Its content was reviewed by more than 80 botanical specialists for various plant groups. This publication is a global resource on economic plants that will facilitate the conservation and utilization of crop genetic resources.

4. NPGC germplasm distributed to scientists worldwide in support of agricultural research. Approximately 537 shipments of 44,351 packets of NPGS germplasm were received by PEO between October 2012 and April 2013, for the required agriculture inspection. They were subsequently shipped to the requesting researchers and educators in 61 different countries. Making germplasm readily available to scientist for use in production and basic research is the most important justification for crop conservation.

Review Publications
Gandhi, K., Wiersema, J.H., Brouillet, L. 2012. Validation of the name Wolffia borealis (Lemnaceae). Harvard Papers in Botany. 17:47-50.

Khoury, C., Greene, S.L., Wiersema, J.H., Maxted, N., Jarvis, A., Struik, P.C. 2013. An inventory of crop wild relatives of the United States. Crop Science. 53:1496-1508.

Postman, J.D., Aradhya, M.K., Williams, K.A., Stover, E.W., Meyer, P. 2012. Recent NPGS coordinated expeditions in the Trans-Caucasus Region to collect wild relatives of temperate fruit and nut crops. Acta Horticulturae. 948:191-198.

Wiersema, J.H., Leon, B. 2013. World Economic Plants: a standard reference, 2nd ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. 1300 p.

McNeill, J., Turland, N.J., Barrie, F.R., Buck, W.R., Greuter, W., Wiersema, J.H. 2012. International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi, and Plants. Konigstein, Germany: Koeltz Scientific Books. 208 p.

Last Modified: 06/21/2017
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