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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service



2009 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
1)Strategically expand the genetic diversity in selected genebank collections and improve associated information for priority genetic resources of crops, crop varieties, and native plant genetic resources adapted to long-season and/or arid land conditions. 1A) Acquire samples and associated information for Parthenium (Guayule), Lesquerella (bladderpod), Limnanthes (meadow foam), and Simmondsia (jojoba) from selected sites in the United States, Mexico, and Central and South American countries, that will fit current gaps in NPGS collections. 1B) In cooperation with the state and federal governments in the Southwest U.S. and relevant state rare plant societies identify and establish in situ seed collection sites for endemic species of Parthenium, Lesquerella and Limnanthes. 2) In collaboration with other NPGS sites, efficiently and effectively regenerate and conserve priority crops and native plant genetic resources adapted to long-season and/or arid land conditions, and distribute samples and associated information worldwide. 2A) Conserve and distribute 1,583 accessions of oilseed, vegetable, medicinal, industrial crop genetic resources adapted to arid climates, emphasizing Parthenium, Lesquerella, Limnanthes, and Simmondsia. 2B) Continue to regenerate the accessions from other NPGS sites, and clonal and seed propagated accessions for Parlier priority crops, emphasizing accessions with low germination, low seed supply, open-pollinated seed stocks, those lacking security back-up or those designated by the primary NPGS curator as important, and continue to develop new and/or superior regenerations methods. Regenerate 1,000-1,500 accessions per year of Parthenium, Lesquerella, Limnanthes, Simmondsia and other NPGS site species that are in need of new seed or back-up at second sites, emphasizing critical back-ups of Parthenium, Lesquerella and Limnanthes. 3) In collaboration with other NPGS sites, strategically characterize (genotype) and evaluate (phenotype) selected priority crop genetic resources for DNA markers, morphological descriptors, and key agronomic or horticultural traits, and incorporate characterization and evaluation data into the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) and/or other relevant databases. 3A) With cooperaters, apply newly developed DNA marker data to phylogenetic and genetic diversity analyses of priority crops, especially Parthenium, Limnanthes and Lesquerella. Incorporate characterization data into the GRIN and/or other databases. 3B) Conduct cooperative research to update and apply phenotypic descriptors for priority collections with an emphasis on morphological and horticultural traits, such as key floral, fruit, and seed characteristics as well as characterizing industrial or other value relative to features related to adaptation to arid land conditions.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
1)Make critical evaluation of the collections now held at Parlier, and prioritize the intrinsic value of each collection relative to the resources available. New accessions will be aquired through exchange with other scientists in the universities and/or institutions, foreign countries national programs, botanical gardens, or by plant exploration. Initiate the ground surveys of vernal pools in California to identify key areas where in situ conservations sites can be designed for multiple species of Limnanthes. Identify populations of Parthenium and Lesquerella in the Southwest U.S. such that future seed and/or DNA sample acquisitions will be possible. 2) Relevant information, available passport documentation and germplasm characterization data collected according to proposed or established descriptors for priority taxa grown for other NPGS sites will be summarized and provided to GRIN. Regeneration and back-up of seed and/or clonal germplasm accessions from other NPGS sites will be continued and expanded in accordance with protocols agreed upon by the Parlier curator and the NPGS curators responsible for the crop. Establishment of viable back-up plots at other sites and/or the development of effective protocols will be the initial priority. Emphasis on germplasm regeneration and management schedules to enhance security back-ups will take place at NCGRP. Selected accessions assigned to other NPGS sites that require or are adapted to arid land, long season conditions for growth and reproduction will be regenerated at Parlier. 3) DNA will be isolated from bulked samples of the major out breeding collections using a standard CTAB protocol. Genetic diversity studies will be conducted with PCR-based markers. SSR markers will be used where they are available or where development of these markers is possible. Replacing 5302-21000-009-00D and 5306-21000-008-00D (12/08).

3. Progress Report
A total of 2386 climate-specific accessions from nine crop species were regenerated at the National Arid Land Plant Genetic Resource Unit(NALPGRU) at the request of curators from four National Germplasm System (NPGS) sites with climatic restrictions. Both seed and clonal propagules were provided to germplasm users through requests originating in the Germplasm Resource Information Network (GRIN). Requests from germplasm users to date in FY09 represent 44 individual requests for 365 accessions. Repository personnel received GRIN training through interactive conference calls during the early part of FY09. The training sessions have assisted personnel in navigating GRIN, and facilitated uploads of passport data and seed viability/availability that are available to public users. Morphological descriptors for Cucurbita foetidissima have been constructed and phenotypic data concerning growth habits, flowering phenology and variability of fruits/seeds have been collected from the 29 accessions held at the NALPGRU. The morphological descriptors have been forwarded to the Crop Germplasm Committee(CGC) for review prior to formal adoption and entry of descriptor data into GRIN. The NALPGRU is currently analyzing inventories of all Lesquerella and Limnanthes holdings to identify those accessions needing regeneration for future seed orders and to determine which accessions should be examined to ensure adequate germination of stored seed. Germination tests have been conducted on 40 Limnanthes accessions, and tests for 132 more accessions are planned in this fiscal year. Germination data are being uploaded to GRIN as numbers become available.

4. Accomplishments
1. Acquisition of Zapata bladderpod from Southern Texas- The Zapata bladderpod (Lesquerella thamnophila) was listed as an endangered species by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 1999, and recovery efforts are currently underway to upgrade its status to threatened. The ARS scientists at the National Arid Land Plant Genetic Resource Unit (NALPGRU) received a small seed sample from the seven known populations in Southern Texas, and growing seedlings were caged at Parlier field plots to provide a seed increase of pure Zapata bladderpod. The self-pollenized seed have been harvested, and germination tests will be conducted to determine seedlot viability. Bladderpod species are considered specialty oilseed crops utilized for high temperature lubricants and heavy duty detergents, being similar to castor oil but without the toxicology issues. The NALPGRU regeneration effort will assist the US Fish and Wildlife Service in re-establishing this endangered species.

Last Modified: 06/21/2017
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