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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service



2013 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:
This is the final report for project 5306-21000-010-00D terminated on March 7, 2013, that was continued as project 5306-21000-011-00D, “Management of arid land plant genetic resources and associated information.” Substantial progress was made on all objectives over the 5 years of this project. Two plant collection explorations were made in the southwestern United States. These resulted in 19 new accessions of Parthenium and 16 accessions of Physaria. In addition, accessions were donated from various sources. An important function of the National Arid Land Plant Genetic Resource Unit (NALPGRU) is to function as a mild climate grow –out site for other repositories. As a result, about 8000 accessions were grown-out and seed or vegetative propagation units were sent back to the Repositories of origin. In addition, the backup hazelnut collection was maintained for the National Germplasm Repository, Corvallis, Oregon. Additionally, about 1000 accessions in the NALPGRU were regenerated. Germplasm distributions from NALPGRU collections in the form of seeds and clonal propagules were 365 in 2009, 433 in 2010, 333 in 2011 and 488 in 2012. Descriptors for Cucurbita foetidissima were established and most of the collection was characterized. More than 5,800 photographs were taken of accessions of Limnanthes spp., Opuntia spp., Physaria/Paysonia spp., Parthenium spp., and Cucurbita foetidissima to be uploaded to Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN)-Global when it becomes available. The images show plant habit, blooms, fruits and details of leaves and other plant organs. Other photographs were taken with the aid of microscopes; over 150 images of Opuntia seeds were taken and uploaded into GRIN-Global. In FY13, the following progress was made. A total of 1446 climate-specific accessions were regenerated at NALPGRU at the request of other National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) curators. Sunflower accessions planted during the previous FY were harvested and sent to Ames, Iowa. The FY13 accessions of small grains, cumin, potatoes, garlic and Hedysarum were planted in the field or greenhouses and are detailed in the new project. Efforts to maintain the integrity of the Parlier collections were continued. In the first half of FY13, all the inventories were reviewed again to determine which accessions needed urgent regeneration both for maintenance of germplasm and for distribution and those were planted in the field and are detailed in the report of the new project. Distribution of germplasm to customers is also detailed. Research was conducted on Opuntia spp. seed viability and fruiting and rooting of Simmondsia cuttings. In the first half of FY13, 700 images of site-specific crops have been obtained for NALPGRU crops and these are edited and ready to be added to GRIN-Global when it becomes available and a global naming convention for images is agreed on by NPGS curators and system managers. The Supervisory Horticulturist gave a guest lecture at Fresno State to introduce the National Plant Germplasm System and the National Arid Land Plant Genetic Resource Unit activities to graduate students (11-27-12).

4. Accomplishments
1. Germplasm grown and regenerated for other Repositories. Germplasm was regenerated for several Repositories in the National Plant Germaplasm System. This included wheat and other small grains, sunflowers, and garlic. These accessions are grown by the National Arid Land Plant Genetic Resource Unit (NALPGRU), Parlier, California, because it has a milder climate and longer growing season than the Repositories requesting the grow-out. The resulting seeds and garlic bulbs maintain the viability and availability of these important crop plants.

2. Inventory curation. Inventories in the National Arid Land Plant Genetic Resource Unit (NALPGRU), Parlier, California, collection were thoroughly reviewed to determine the accessions requiring regeneration and which had sufficient seed for distribution. Some of the seedlots were decades old. Many of the older seed were dead, however, older accessions with viable seed were identified for regeneration. This is a critical activity in order to continue to supply stakeholders with sufficient and high quality seed.

3. Germplasm Distribution. Both seed and clonal propagules were provided to germplasm users through requests originating in the Germplasm Resource Information Network (GRIN). For FY13, requests from germplasm users totaled 511 accessions; approximately 9% of them were international requests. The most requested genus was, once more, Opuntia (141), followed by Parthenium (125), Physaria/Paysonia (47), and Atriplex (43). This supplies scientists with the genetic resources that are necessary to make their research possible and to understand the growth and genetics of these drought tolerant plants.

4. Seed viability and fruiting of Opuntia. A study was conducted on seed viability and fruiting of Opuntia spp. by ARS scientists in Parlier, California. The seed viability shed light on the length of time seeds of accessions can be stored. The study of the fruit can increase its utilization and help predict how many need to be harvested for sufficient seed in the future. Rootability of a male and female accession of jojoba from two different sources were compared monthly for a year. This study was conducted to determine the best time to send out cuttings of jojoba. There were differences in rooting, but the study continued into the next project cycle.

Last Modified: 06/26/2017
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