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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Aberdeen, Idaho » Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research » Research » Research Project #434208

Research Project: Management of Genetic Resources and Associated Information in the USDA-ARS National Small Grains Collection

Location: Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research

2023 Annual Report

The long-term objective of this project is to maintain and enhance NSGC as a worldwide resource of small grains germplasm for the research community. Specifically, during the next five years we will focus on the following objectives. Objective 1. Efficiently and effectively acquire genetic resources of small grains and their wild relatives; maintain their safety, genetic integrity, health and viability; and distribute them and associated information worldwide. 1A. Acquire crop wild relatives of wheat, barley, rice, and oat that are under-represented by taxonomy or geography and other threatened small grains germplasm. 1B. Maintain and back-up NSGC accessions. 1C. Regenerate NSGC accessions on a continuing basis with priorities determined by seed inventory and viability. 1D. Distribute on request NSGC accessions and information that meet the specific needs of researchers worldwide. Objective 2. Develop more effective genetic resource maintenance, evaluation, and characterization methods and apply them to priority small grains genetic resources; screen for host-plant resistance to virulent diseases, such as the Ug99 wheat rust strain. Record and disseminate evaluation and characterization data via GRIN-Global and other data sources. 2A. Assess putative duplicate accessions for barley and wheat. 2B. Characterize resistance to bunt and stem rust in NSGC wheat accessions. 2C. Collect remaining priority characterization data and record in GRIN-Global. Objective 3. With other NPGS genebanks and Crop Germplasm Committees, develop, update, document, and implement best management practices and Crop Vulnerability Statements for small grains genetic resource and information management. 3A. Review and update NSGC standard operating procedures for all aspects of curation and implement best management practices in coordination with other NPGS sites. 3B. Engage with small grains Crop Germplasm Committees (CGCs) to update crop vulnerability statements and identify germplasm acquisition and evaluation priorities of interest to the respective committees.

Objective 1. Acquisition priorities include the wild relatives of Triticum, Hordeum, Avena, and Oryza to fill species and ecogeographic gaps in the crop collections. Highest priority will be primary genepool relatives of these genera, identified in collaboration with the Crop Germplasm Committees (CGCs). These gaps will be addressed by collection expeditions and exchanges with other genebanks. Seed of NSGC accessions are held in medium-term storage under controlled temperature (5-6o C) and relative humidity (25%). Detailed inventory records are maintained in GRIN-Global. Seed will be provided to NLGRP for safety back up. Accessions in need of regeneration will be grown at several locations as follows: Aberdeen, Idaho in fields of the University of Idaho Research and Extension Center and in USDA-ARS greenhouses; Parlier, California at the USDA-ARS National Arid Land Plant Genetic Resource Unit; and Stuttgart, Arkansas at the USDA-ARS Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center. Accessions will be scheduled for regeneration based on a priority matrix. Viability tests are scheduled every five years. Standard procedures for GRIN-Global Order Processing will be followed. Distributions outside of the U.S. will follow phytosanitary requirements of the recipient country, including import permits, phytosanitary certificates, and additional declarations. USDA-APHIS will be consulted regularly for the latest information on seed export. Seed shipments to other countries will be coordinated with the National Germplasm Resources Laboratory (NGRL), Plant Exchange Office. Noxious weeds will be distributed under a USDA-APHIS permit. Accessions that fall under the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture will follow appropriate guidelines and will include agreement to the Standard Material Transfer Agreement by the recipient. Objective 2. Molecular markers and morphological traits will be used to develop a method to assess variation within and between NSGC wheat and barley accessions. After establishing the method, the barley and wheat collections will be sampled to measure the degree of duplication within each. Using the data from this study, verified duplicate accessions may be combined. Using genome wide association and bi-parental mapping approaches, genes for bunt and stem rust resistance will be sought within the NSGC wheat collection. Markers associated with novel resistance to the Ug99 stem rust group of races will be validated in various genetic backgrounds. Remaining priority characterization data will be collected and recorded in GRIN-Global. Objective 3. SOPs for all aspects related to acquisition, maintenance, regeneration, characterization, evaluation, and distribution will be reviewed, updated, and compiled into a complete NSGC operations manual of procedures. Through meetings and discussions with the small grains CGCs the priorities of these research communities will be identified and reflected in crop vulnerability statements and NSGC descriptors. Ongoing dialogue with the CGCs will be maintained.

Progress Report
This is the final report for project 2050-21000-033-000D, which has been replaced by new project 2050-21000-037-000D, “Management of Diverse Germplasm and Associated Descriptive Information in the USDA Agricultural Research Service National Small Grains Collection.” For additional information see the new project report. In support of Objective 1, ARS researchers at Aberdeen, Idaho, currently hold 150,074 accessions of small grains, which include wheat, barley, oat, rye, triticale, rice, and related wild species in the National Small Grains Collection (NSGC). Current holdings reflect an increase of 2,180 accessions during the past five years. Seed distributions to scientists totaled 147,588 accession samples in 2,715 separate requests during this five-year period. More than 80,000 viability tests were completed during this period. Regeneration grow-outs were completed for more than 48,000 accessions. Research continued in acquiring genetic resources of small grains and their wild relatives, while maintaining safety, genetic integrity, health, and viability. In support of Objective 2, ARS researchers have systematically tested NSGC winter habit bread wheat landraces for resistance to North American and Ug99 races of stem rust. The wheat stem rust races originating in East Africa, collectively referred to as Ug99, pose a threat to global bread wheat production. Ug99 races have developed virulence to many resistance genes that are currently deployed in bread wheat cultivars. Accessions that have unique resistance patterns, and do not have molecular markers linked with known resistance genes, were crossed to known susceptible cultivars. Populations derived from these crosses were used to develop genetic maps that can identify chromosomal regions and molecular markers associated with Ug99 resistance. Three accessions (PI 94439, PI 117494, and PI 479828) with unique resistance were tested against one Ug99 stem rust race. Linkage mapping results indicate new loci for adult plant stem rust resistance in PI 94439, and previously reported stem rust resistance in PI 117494 and PI 479828. Screening was completed for all NSGC available winter and facultative bread wheat accessions for resistance to U.S. and Ug99 stem rust variants, with 9,192 accessions tested since 2014. In each year of the project researchers at Aberdeen, Idaho, Lincoln, Nebraska, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Raleigh, North Carolina, organized U.S. wheat, triticale and barley breeding nurseries for testing in East Africa against Ug99 variants of stem rust in cooperation with the International Center for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT) in Mexico City, Mexico, the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) in Nairobi, Kenya, and the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR). Entries tested totaled more than 10,000. In further support of Objective 2, more than 100,000 spike, panicle and kernel voucher images were created, and uploaded to GRIN-Global during the five years. Characterization data for priority descriptors were recorded from field nurseries and voucher images and uploaded to GRIN-Global. In support of Objective 3, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the NSGC were updated for GRIN-Global order processing and viability testing to reflect new seed handling procedures verified by bar-code-matching at every stage.

1. Acquired wheat chromosomal substitution and translocation stocks. Wheat improvement relies on many different tools to facilitate discovery of valuable traits. The ARS National Small Grains Collection (NSGC) in Aberdeen, Idaho, acquired a set of 100 wheat chromosomal substitution and translocations stocks from the Wheat Genetic Resource Center, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas. These new accessions give researchers a diverse set of chromosomal mutants to better understand and help manipulate the wheat genome.