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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Griffin, Georgia » Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit » Research » Research Project #424588

Research Project: Conservation, Characterization, and Evaluation of Plant Genetic Resources and Associated Information

Location: Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit

Project Number: 6046-21000-011-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 19, 2013
End Date: Feb 27, 2018

1. Conserve, regenerate, back up, and distribute genetic resources and associated information for sorghum, peanut, vegetables, warm-season grasses, vigna, clover, tropical/subtropical legume crops and related wild species. • 1.A. Conserve more than 91,000 accessions of priority genetic resources and periodically assess these stored genetic resources for vigor, viability, trueness to type, and health. • 1.B. Regenerate and develop alternative regeneration techniques for priority genetic resources, and back up more than 95% of the collection at secondary sites. • 1.C. On request, distribute accessions of plant genetic resources and their associated information to meet specific needs of the research and educational communities. 2. Acquire genetic resources to fill ecogeographical, taxonomic, and/or genetic gaps and to expand the genetic diversity available from genebank collections of the preceding crops and related wild species. 3. Conduct genetic characterizations and phenotypic evaluations of the preceding crops and related wild species for priority genetic and agronomic traits. • 3.A. Develop and apply nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and gas chromatography (GC) procedures to analyze variation in oil, protein, sugar content, fatty acid composition, flavonoids, and other key phytochemicals in the preceding crops and related wild species. Incorporate biochemical data into the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN-Global) of the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS). • 3.B. Update and obtain phenotypic descriptors and evaluate priority agronomic or horticultural traits for the preceding crops and crop wild relatives. Incorporate phenotypic descriptors and agronomic or horticultural trait data into GRIN-Global. • 3.C. Develop DNA markers from existing genomic resources to assess phylogenetic relationships, genetic diversity, and population structure of priority crops and crop wild relatives. Incorporate DNA genetic marker characterization data into GRIN-Global or other databases (such as GenBank).

Conserve over 91,000 accessions of priority species with the majority of seed maintained at -18 C for improved longevity. Conduct germination tests of newly-regenerated seed and seed in storage to establish regeneration priorities. Identify duplicate or redundant accessions through evaluation of passport data or by genotyping suspected duplicates using a reference set of DNA markers. Conduct plant pathogen testing of peanut quarantine accessions for seed-borne virus infection, field or greenhouse plants for diseases, and verification of plant or seed health for satisfying import permits. Conserve clonal accessions of warm-season grasses and wild peanuts in the greenhouse, bamboo in the field, and sweetpotato in tissue culture. Conduct regenerations of seed-producing accessions each year locally or with cooperators at remote locations. Select accessions for regeneration based on low seed viability, low seed numbers, original seed only, age of seed, and demand by users. Utilize and modify regeneration methods to reduce genetic drift, inbreeding depression, and loss of unique alleles. Conserve more than 95% of crop seed accessions and the sweetpotato in vitro culture collection at a second location at Ft. Collins, CO. Cooperate with Ft. Collins scientists to increase cryopreservation of warm-season grass and sweetpotato clonal accessions for safety backup. Inform the research and educational communities of these genetic resources for their traditional and non-traditional uses. Distribute plant genetic resources and associated information to users worldwide in response to requests received. Distribute clonal accessions of sweetpotato as in-vitro cultures or plantlets and vegetative material of accessions which do not produce seed as bare-rooted cuttings. Acquire germplasm through plant collecting trips, germplasm exchanges, donations, existing breeding programs, or purchase. Acquisitions will focus on germplasm from specific locations, with specific traits, or to fill taxonomic gaps in the NPGS collection. Measure seed oil content and fatty acid composition on peanut, sesame, Desmodium, and Teramnus accessions using a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analyzer and a gas chromatograph (GC). Measure crude protein content in cowpea and mung bean accessions. Determine sugar and organic acid content in fruits of chili pepper accessions. Obtain phenotypic data and digital images from peanut, vegetable, tropical/subtropical legumes, cowpea, annual clover, warm-season grasses, and other accessions grown for seed regeneration. Use genotyping and morphological descriptor data to develop a castor core collection. Identify desirable accessions from genotyping by sequencing, morphological data, and biomass chemical composition of sorghum accessions. Assess genetic diversity by genotyping Cucurbita, sweetpotato, seashore paspalum, chili pepper, and eggplant accessions and the watermelon collection using DNA markers. Develop functional DNA markers for oleic acid in sesame, tannin in sorghum, and oil metabolism in peanut accessions.