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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Crop Germplasm Research » Research » Research Project #434151

Research Project: Pecan Breeding, Genomics, and Genetic Resource Management

Location: Crop Germplasm Research

Project Number: 3091-21000-039-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jan 18, 2018
End Date: Jan 17, 2023

Objective 1: Efficiently and effectively acquire Carya genetic resources; maintain their safety, genetic integrity, health and viability; and distribute them and associated information worldwide. [NP301, C2, PS2A] Objective 2: Complete the sequencing and assembly of the pecan reference genome, and apply genomic information from it, from mapping populations, and from diverse pecan genotypes and phenotypes to map and characterize the genetic bases for key pecan horticultural traits. [NP301, C1, PS1A] Objective 3: Develop and implement new pecan data management systems that link and deliver key genotypic, phenotypic, and descriptive information to pecan researchers, breeders, and producers. Record and disseminate evaluation and characterization data via GRIN-Global and other data sources. [NP301, C4, PS4A] Objective 4: Assisted by genomic information, develop more effective and efficient evaluation, characterization, and selection methods for priority pecan horticultural traits (e.g., tree architecture), and apply them to priority Carya genetic resources as well as diverse trial sites to select superior genotypes for pecan scion and rootstock breeding stocks. [NP301, C1, PS1A] Objective 5: Guided by new genomic and trait evaluation data, breed and release superior pecan scion and rootstock cultivars that produce trees with reduced size, excellent nut quality and yield, tolerance to environmental extremes, and resistance to disease and pests. [NP301, C1, PS1B]

The primary goal of this project is to increase pecan production through the development of improved cultivars and rootstocks. This is a sister project to "Management of the National Collection of Carya Genetic Resources and Associated Information" (3091-21000-042-00D) and benefits from observations made on range-wide provenance collections maintained in that effort, as well as from verified inventories of parent cultivars to generate controlled crosses. Objectives will be achieved through coordinated research in cooperation with national and international researchers working with pecan and hickory to improve genomic tools and refine the methods of phenotypically selecting improved scion cultivars and regionally adapted rootstocks. This project works in cooperation with national nursery and nut crop producers to ensure improved regional performance of introduced materials. These improvements will be accomplished through improved phenotypic selection techniques, supplemented with molecular tools to develop and release pecan scion cultivars producing high nut yield and quality on trees of reduced size, and possessing regionally appropriate levels of disease and insect resistance. Similar approaches will be used to select regionally adapted pecan seedstocks with improved vigor, uniformity, salt tolerance, disease and insect resistance, and specific geographical adaptation which will ultimately contribute to increased yields of grafted scions. Qualitative and quantitative techniques, in conjunction with molecular techniques, will be used to elucidate the genetic control of certain key horticultural traits. This project will fill key knowledge gaps regarding the genetic control of pecan flowering (that impacts alternate bearing), disease resistance, seasonal phenology, tree size, and nut quality.