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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Washington, D.C. » National Arboretum » Floral and Nursery Plants Research » Research » Research Project #430185

Research Project: Characterization of Patterns of Genetic Diversity in North American Ashes (Fraxinus spp.)

Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research

Project Number: 8020-21000-080-02-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2016
End Date: Aug 31, 2021

Characterize genetic diversity and phylogenetic relationships of North American ashes for purposes of achieving resolution to current uncertainties in the genus Fraxinus, particularly with respect to the F. americana complex (White ash) and F. pennsylvanica complex (Green ash) in order to inform conservation and breeding strategies in response to the invasive Emerald Ash Borer. Determine how ash species can be easily identified, particularly if leaves, stems, and fruits are not present simultaneously. Generate a phylogeny based on DNA, ploidy level, and morphological characters.

New collections of ashes (seeds, leaves in silica gel and herbarium vouchers) will be made from geographic areas in the United States of greatest need for resolving the objectives. DNA from these new collections and existing accessions of ash will be extracted in the molecular laboratory of The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), and at NYBG these DNA samples will be subjected to next generation sequencing, which will yield 2,000 times more data than other molecular techniques, and provide additional sources of data, such as DNA barcodes for plant identification. The U.S. National Arboretum will perform flow-cytometry and assist in taxonomic and genetic analysis in partnership with NYBG.