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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Management of Genetic Resources & Associated Information for Grape, Tree Fruit, Tree Nut, & Other Specialty Crops to Mediterranean Climates

Location: Nat'l Clonal Germplasm Rep - Tree Fruit & Nut Crops & Grapes

Project Number: 2032-21000-020-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 8, 2013
End Date: Mar 7, 2018

Objective 1: Efficiently and effectively conserve, back-up, regenerate, characterize, and evaluate genetic resources of grape, tree fruit, tree nut, and other specialty crops adapted to Mediterranean climates, and distribute germplasm and associated information worldwide. Objective 2: Strategically fill gaps in the current coverage of genetic resource collections for grape, tree fruit, tree nut, and other specialty crops adapted to Mediterranean climates through international and domestic germplasm exchanges and plant explorations. Sub-objective 2A- Acquire Vitis, Prunus, Juglans, Ficus, Olea, Pistacia, Diospyros, Actinidia, and Morus and related wild relatives from their centers of origin and diversity in Eurasia (Mediterranean, Caucasus, and Central Asian nations) through plant exchanges and explorations. Sub-ojective 2B - Acquire germplasm of Vitis, Prunus, Juglans, Diospyros, and Morus native to the U.S. though domestic explorations and exchange. Objective3: In collaboration with other NPGS genebanks and research projects, devise and apply superior tissue culture and cryopreservation methods to safeguard germplasm collections of grape, tree fruit, tree nut, and other specialty crops adapted to Mediterranean climates. Objective 4: In collaboration with other NPGS genebanks and research projects, develop novel genetic marker systems for characterizing genetic resources of grape, tree fruit, tree nut, and other specialty crops adapted to Mediterranean climates. Apply those markers to more efficiently and effectively manage the site's germplasm collections and to facilitate their use in germplasm acquisition, breeding and research projects. Sub-objective 4A- In cooperation with ARS and university collaborators, develop and apply new genetic markers such as simple sequence repeat (SSR) and single nucleotide markers (SNPs) to quantify and describe genetic diversity in the collections. Subobjective 4B- Generate multilocus fingerprint data to fill in existing gaps and to expand on the existing molecular data for priority crops such as Vitis, Prunus, Juglans, Ficus, Olea, and Pistacia to determine the identity, diversity, and systematic relationships within and among species for effective conservation, management, and utilization of genetic resources. Upload characterization data on to the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN-Global) database. Sub-objective 4C- Continue on-going phenotypic evaluation of germplasm collections of priority species such as Vitis, Prunus, Juglans, Ficus, Olea, and Pistacia, and upload the data to GRIN-Global.

Strategically acquire germplasm and conserve a broad spectrum of genetic diversity in the genetic resources assigned to the repository, and characterize them for effective management and utilization collections. In collaboration with university and ARS researchers, develop, and apply novel genetic markers and genomic techniques for effective characterization of collections and apply in-vitro and cryopreservation techniques to backup collections. In partnership with the private nurseries, acquire appropriate rootstocks to propagate and establish new germplasm blocks as a part of periodic rejuvenation program. Develop and execute collaborative disease testing and disease elimination programs to improve phytosanitary status of collections. Consult Crop Genetic Resources Committees and crop breeders for phenotyping germplasm collections to facilitate genotype-phenotype correlations to enhance utilization. Upload all updated inventories of field, backup, and in-vitro collections, molecular, genomic, and phenotypic data and results on to the Genetic Resources Information Network (GRIN) for public access. Carefully plan and execute plant explorations in the crop centers and secondary centers of origin, diversity, and domestication as per the guidelines of the USDA-ARS/NGRL Plant Exchange Office (PAO) and in accordance with the Convention of Biological Diversity to enrich and fill-in gaps in collections. Plan and execute domestic explorations and exchanges within the U.S. for strategic enrichment of germplasm collections of native taxa. Plant explorations and exchange programs will focus on enriching both cultivated and wild taxa in different gene pools. Collect extensive passport data including the GPS coordinates of collection locations and upload on to the GRIN. Follow all federal and state quarantine regulations and route all germplasm shipments through the USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm Quarantine Center for inspection, testing, and pathogen elimination and release. Follow post-entry quarantine process and procedures for newly acquired germplasm and upon inspection and release by the state and county inspectors, propagate and establish plants in field and backup collections. Standardize and apply plant tissue culture techniques for in-vitro backup and cryopreservation of germplasm collections and also virus elimination as appropriate. Genotype germplasm collections using microsatellite and Single Nucleotide Polymorphism Markers to assess genetic diversity, structure, and differentiation and to quantify and describe genetic diversity within and among population and taxa. Utilize cpDNA sequence variation to study taxonomic diversity and phylogenetic relationships within and among crop genera. Perform appropriate univariate and multivariate statistical techniques, and quantitative, and population genetic, and taxonomic analyses to analyze genetic diversity within and among taxa in different gene pools. Distribute appropriate germplasm in the form of seed, bud and graftwood, pollen, and DNA, and associated information, nationally and internationally to private and public sector breeders, nurserymen, researchers, and others.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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