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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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2011 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The primary goal of the research is to provide safe long-term storage, and to ensure the maximum longevity possible, of stored plant and microbial genetic resources. Over the next five years the Plant Genetic Resources Preservation Program (PGRPP) at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP) will focus on the following four, largely non-hypothesis driven, objectives: 1. Long-term preservation of seed genetic resources collections. 2. Develop, adapt, modify and/or apply methods for secure long-term back-up preservation of selected vegetatively-propagated crops, especially Allium, Fragaria, Ipomoea, Humulus, Musa, Prunus, Pyrus, Rubus and Ribes. 3. Initiate comprehensive and strategic long-term secure back-up storage of priority microbial collections, commencing with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Culture Collection in Peoria, Illinois. 4. Conduct collaborations, consultations, coordination, scientific exchanges, targeted training, and technology transfer to promote and facilitate the adoption and application of long-term preservation strategies and technologies in domestic and international genebanks.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
As the guardians of the base collection for the NPGS, the PGRPP has the responsibility of ensuring that the methods employed for long-term preservation of the genetic resources are the best possible for maintaining a viable and healthy collection. The four objectives will accomplish this by: 1. Improving the quality control of the NPGS base collections by upgrading and operating an ongoing program to evaluate and enhance the secure long-term preservation, monitoring, and documentation of seed in the NPGS base collection. 2. Focusing research on the development, adaptation, and/or application of methods for the secure long-term preservation of selected germplasm collections of priority vegetatively-propagated crops. 3. Actively seeking to facilitate and coordinate the back-up of ARS microbial collections at NCGRP in cryogenic storage. 4. Aiding in the building the global infrastructure for genetic research preservation by participation at national and international levels to promote, facilitate and provide the underpinning for a global genetic resources preservation community.

3. Progress Report
All but one milestone for FY11 has either been fully or substantially met. The one milestone not met dealt with the development of computer software to aid in the analysis of germination data and due to circumstances beyond our control, we were not able to hire a computer programmer to move this project forward. The Plant Genetic Resources Preservation Program (PGRPP) received the second highest number of samples annually (63,089) in the past 10 years for storage in 2010. The NPGS accounted for ~27% of the samples received and large security back-up shipments from the African Rice Center and the Canadian Genetic Resources Program also accounted for ~20%. Germination tests remained above our yearly goal (24,035 tests in 2010) yet monitor tests were greatly reduced (4,663 tests n 2010) due to a high volume of new samples needing testing. The back up of vegetatively-propagated crops reached goals in all 11 operational crops worked in addition to research advances in methodology for dormant buds and other crops. The Plant Genetic Resources Program (PGRPP) trains visiting scientists, participates in international meetings, coordinates the NPGS participation in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault and repatriation of accessions to Mexico, promotes best practices in genetic resources conservation and supports international conservation of genetic resources. The 63,089 new samples received in 2010 included:16,329 samples from NPGS sites (322 clonal, 14,479 conventional, and 1,528 critical back-up samples; 740 Plant Variety Protection (PVP) samples; 129 plant registration samples; 14,445 samples for black-box storage (i.e. from the African Rice Center, Canada, Botanical Gardens and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service); 4,514 samples of native plants (1,273 Seeds of Success and 3241 Center of Plant Conservation samples); 8,251 samples for repatriation to Mexico; and 15,116 samples or long-term safety back-up at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Germination tests were done on 24,036 accessions with 4,663 of the tests being monitor tests. 2,147 samples were distributed to 75 scientists in 5 countries and 347 quarantine samples were released for quarantine regeneration. 290 expired PVP samples and 241 plant registration samples were also released into the NPGS. In FY 10, the Vegetative Germplasm Preservation Group placed 171 accessions into cryopreservation (21 Alium, 28 Fragaria, 14 Humulus, 28 Ipomoea, 2 Musa, 14 Pycnanthemum, 9 Pyrus, 30 Solanum and 9 Vaccinium). The focus on expanding and modifying the apple dormant bud cryopreservation protocol to other woody crops continued with work in walnut (English and black), butternut, pear, currant, blue berry, willow, peach, apricot, almond and sweet cherry. In FY11 the PGRPP provided safety back-up for the ARS Rhizobium collection, the Fungal Genetic Stocks Collection and the ARS Collection of Entomopathogenic fungal cultures in Ithaca, NY.

4. Accomplishments
1. ARS scientists at Fort Collins, Colorado, facilitated the public release of 531 accessions of valuable plant material (expired Plant Variety Protection and Crop Registration genetic materials). ARS safeguards voucher specimens of this material for up to 20 years to ensure it is available to plant breeders and the research community after expiration of protection. The public access of unique plant varieties and germplasm is critical to maintaining food security and plant productivity.

2. ARS scientists in Fort Collins coordinated the National Plant Germplasm System participation in the international Svalbard Global Seed Vault and sent15,116 accessions to Norway in FY 11. Genetic resources are a global asset and the U.S. participation in this global effort to safely preserve plant genetic resources is an important step in demonstrating our participation in this global arena. The effort provides one more level of safety back-up of the National Plant Germplasm System collections and ensures the U.S. participation in global genetic resources efforts.

3. ARS scientists in Fort Collins have initiated the safe back-up storage of three key public microbial collections, including the ARS Rhizobium collection in Beltsville, the Fungal Genetic Stocks Collection at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the ARS Collection of Entomopathogenic fungal cultures in Ithaca, NY. A government report on public collections suggested microbial collections be backed-up to protect not only the investment made in establishing and maintaining these collection but also to ensure their availability in the future for food and agricultural security. The backing-up of these collections is a major accomplishment that will provide the needed nucleus for the backing-up of other important microbial collections.

4. ARS Scientists in Fort Collins collaborated with BLM to safeguard over 4,600 collections of native plants through the BLM Seeds of Success Program (SOS). This program ensures that a portion of seed collected on public BLM land is securely preserved so that it will be available in the future.

5. ARS scientists in Fort Collins demonstrated that apple from the National Plant Germplasm System clonal sites in Corvallis, OR, and Davis, CA, can be cryopreserved. This study demonstrated that dormant buds from these more moderate sites do obtain the needed winter hardiness to survive cryopreservation. These results demonstrate that this cryopreservation technique can be applied to other woody crops maintained at these sites.

Last Modified: 07/25/2017
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