Project Number: 3012-21220-009-02-N
Project Type: Nonfunded Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Jan 1, 2011
End Date: Dec 31, 2015
Increase collaboration with the Dipartimento Biotecnologie Agrarie in developing a program to better characterize the biology and physiology of sea beet, which is the most important genetic resource for enhancing beet production. Sea beet grows wild along the Adriatic Coast and has been studied by the Dipartimento Biotecnologie Agrarie in collaboration with Stazione Sperimentale di Bieticoltura di Rovigo (Sugar beet Experimental Station, Rovigo) for several years. We will 1) identify populations to phenotype, 2) enumerate traits selected for through domestication, and 3) discover the genetic and genomic basis for these traits.
The USDA-ARS NPGS has an extensive collection of germplasm collected from the coast of Italy. Collaborative efforts with Dr. Enrico Biancardi, Prof. Massimo Saccomani, and Dr. Piergiorgio Stevanato, the foremost world experts in the life history of sea beet (Beta vulgaris subspecies maritima), have been initiated. We would work together to identify areas where NPGS collectors have collected sea beet germplasm, and measure population traits. These traits in sea beet would be compared with cultivated sugar beet and other domestic beets (table, fodder, Swiss chard) by both ARS and Italian researchers. Once phenotypic changes through domestication have been identified sea beet and domestic beet would be crossed to provide populations for genetic and genomic analyses. The gene and genomic changes brought about by the domestication process will be examined.