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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Miami, Florida » Subtropical Horticulture Research » Research » Research Project #434198

Research Project: Subtropical and Tropical Ornamental Genetic Resource Management, Characterization, and Genetic Improvement

Location: Subtropical Horticulture Research

Project Number: 6038-13210-003-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Feb 1, 2018
End Date: Jan 31, 2023

Objective:
Objective 1: Efficiently and effectively maintain the safety, genetic integrity, health, and viability of subtropical and tropical ornamental genetic resources, and distribute them and associated information worldwide. Subobjective 1A: Strategically expand and improve collections of priority tropical and subtropical ornamental taxa and associated information. Subobjective 1B: Conserve, regenerate, and distribute as needed subtropical and tropical ornamental genetic resources and information efficiently and effectively, emphasizing priority genera identified by Crop Germplasm Committees (CGCs). Objective 2: Develop more effective genetic resource characterization, phylogenetic analyses, and evaluation methods, and apply them to priority subtropical and tropical ornamental genetic resources. Record and disseminate evaluation and characterization data via GRIN-Global and other data sources. Subobjective 2A: Develop nearly complete whole plastome and low copy nuclear gene sequences to generate well-resolved phylogenies of various clades of Amaryllidaceae. Subobjective 2B: Elucidate the genetic control of anthocyanin pigmentation in the genera Hippeastrum (amaryllis), Worsleya, and Griffinia, and fragrance production in Hippeastrum. Objective 3: Guided by new knowledge of the genetic relationships and valuable ornamental traits of poorly-known plants, develop superior new cultivars and genetically-enhanced populations and/or selections of priority subtropical and tropical ornamental crops. Subobjective 3a. Select, breed, and/or release new cultivars of the subtropical/ tropical shrub Portlandia, the flowering tree genus Tabebuia (inc. Handroanthus), and other tropical/subtropical taxa. Subobjective 3b: Continue evaluation and selection of Hippeastrum hybrid progeny.

Approach:
The long term objectives of this project are to ensure a secure and diverse stream of new genetic variation and enhanced germplasm for the subtropical/tropical ornamental horticulture industry as well as generate and consolidate detailed information about the intrinsic genetic variability, systematic relationships, and ornamental merit of genetic resources via genetic characterization, systematic studies, and field evaluation. These objectives are a combination of hypothesis-driven and non-hypothesis driven research. The objectives form an integrated program of subtropical/tropical ornamental germplasm characterization, enhancement and improved management practices. The program efficiently and effectively maintains the safety, genetic integrity, health, and viability of subtropical and tropical ornamental genetic resources. Collections of priority tropical and subtropical ornamental taxa and associated information will be strategically expanded and improved, distributing them worldwide to customers and stakeholders, emphasizing priority genera identified by appropriate Crop Germplasm Committees. Nearly complete whole plastomes and many low copy nuclear gene sequences will be obtained to generate well-resolved phylogenies of various clades of Amaryllidaceae. The genetic control of anthocyanin pigmentation in the genera Hippeastrum (amaryllis), Worsleya, and Griffinia, and fragrance production in Hippeastrum will be elucidated. Guided by new knowledge of the genetic relationships and valuable ornamental traits of poorly-known plants, superior new cultivars and genetically enhanced populations and/or selections of priority subtropical and tropical ornamental crops will be developed, with emphasis on the tropical shrub Portlandia, the flowering tree genus Tabebuia (inc. Handroanthus), and other tropical/subtropical taxa. The evaluation and selection of Hippeastrum hybrid progeny will be continued. Hybrid progeny from the past few years, many of which are just reaching flowering size, will be evaluated for floral phenotype and flowering behavior, with selections made based on novel flower coloration, patterning, fragrance, and both bud and scape number.