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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service



2010 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
Progress was made in all three objectives and most of the sub-objectives. A collection trip was made in FY2010 to New Mexico, Texas and Arizona and multiple accessions of Lesquerella were collected. They will be regenerated in the field during the next growing season. A previously unreported collection trip was made in 2005 to New Mexico and Arizona where they collected 19 accessions of Parthenium for NALPGRU. To update the inventory and data on these germplasm collections, germination tests have been conducted on 196 Lesquerella, 17 Parthenium, and 31 Cucurbita accessions. Germination data were uploaded to GRIN and images of Cucurbita foetidissima (buffalo gourd) were also entered into GRIN. In addition, seeds from 85 old Parthenium accessions donated by other repositories or individual researchers were tested and found to be nonviable. Opuntia passport data from accessions received in 2007 were entered into GRIN. The inventories were updated for the perennials guayule (Parthenium spp.) and jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis), and the annuals, buffalo gourd, bladderpod, and meadowfoam. ARS Researchers in Parlier, CA determined which accessions needed urgent regeneration both for maintenance of germplasm and for distribution (those that have never been regenerated have top priority). Five curators from other primary sites requested regenerations at Parlier. These sites were Aberdeen, ID; Pullman, WA; Ames, IA; Griffin; and Geneva, NY. A total of 1021 climate-specific accessions from nine crop species were regenerated at the NALPGRU at the request of curators from five National Germplasm System (NPGS) sites with climatic restrictions. The crops were: cereals (627 accessions), garlics (319 accessions), sunflowers (33 accessions), parsleys (8 accessions), hot peppers (19 accessions), onions (5 accessions), cucurbits (8 accessions), and one accession each of cumin and Dalea. A set of Cucurbita foetidissima descriptors was developed and sent to the CGC for a first round of comments. Most of the 29 accessions in the collection were characterized and the few accessions that were not grown in the field and characterized will be finished in the coming FY. The new curator received two days of GRIN training from Davis personnel in July, 2010. It consisted of a general introduction to the system and aspects of customer orders, inventory and data import/export. Most NALPGRU personnel took advantage of AgLearn courses to improve their work skills.

4. Accomplishments
1. There was an increase in the number of requests received by National Arid Land Plant Genetic Research Unit (NALPGRU). Both seed and clonal propagules were provided to germplasm users through requests originating in the Germplasm Resource Information Network (GRIN). Requests for arid land plant germplasm came from researchers in academic institutions and private industry (mostly breeders, physiologists, and some anthropologists) and non-researchers in nurseries and growers of novelty crops. Requests from germplasm users to date in FY10 represent 433 accessions, including 113 accessions sent to the Mexican repatriation initiative. Mexico is in the process of setting up its own national plant germplasm system and seed samples of all the accessions in NALPGRU that originated in that country’s territory were included in this request. The most highly requested accessions were those of Opuntia (87), Cucurbita foetidissima (85), Lesquerella (68), Simmondsia (66), Parthenium (46), and Atriplex (44). International requests constitute 39% of the request if the Mexican repatriation requests are not considered and 55% if they are. It is expected that the accessions requested will have an impact in the development of new cultivars and help to diversify crops in areas with reduced precipitation.

2. NALPGRU outreach activities: The National Arid Land Plant Genetic Resource Unit (NALPGRU) in Parlier, CA participated in several outreach events; it had booths at the Tulare Ag Expo (2/9-11/2010), the Fresno Farm and Nutrition Day (3/19/2010), the Fresno Water-Wise Plant Exchange (5/8/2010, television interviews). Additionally, tours were offered to the Future Farmers of America (FFA-4/19/2010), the Partners in Agriculture Leadership (PAL-6/19/2010) and the Fresno chapter of the Cactus and Succulent Society (6-19-2010). The NALPGRU Opuntia collection was featured in a Fresno Bee (Fresno newspaper) article by Joan Obra (4/13/2010), in which the author discussed nopales in relation to human food. These outreach activities have spread the knowledge not only of the arid land plants collections but also of the National Plant Germplasm System.

Last Modified: 06/24/2017
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