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ARS Home » Research » Research Project #434316

Research Project: Management of Arid Land Plant Genetic Resources and Regeneration of Accessions with Special Climatic Requirements

Location: Office of The Director

Project Number: 2034-21000-012-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 1, 2018
End Date: Feb 28, 2023

The overall goal of this project is to leverage the long, dry growing season in Parlier, CA both to provide support to other National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) collections through seed regeneration and back-up preservation, and to maintain a collection of crops suitable for arid land production. The unique climate at this site allows for seed production in specific accessions that cannot be regenerated at their priority sites. NPGS sites that routinely regenerate or back up accessions in Parlier include the National Clonal Germplasm Repository at Corvallis OR (NCGR-Corvallis), the Western Regional Plant Introduction Station in Pullman WA (WRPIS-Pullman), the National Small Grains Collection in Aberdeen ID (NSGC-Aberdeen), the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station (NCRPIS – Ames, IA), the Plant Genetic Resources Unit at Geneva NY (PGRU-Geneva), and the Plant Genetic Resource Conservation Unit in Griffin GA (PGRCU-Griffin). This site also allows for the maintenance, seed production, and characterization of whole genera that cannot be maintained elsewhere. Specifically, during the next five years we will focus on the following objectives: Objective 1: In collaboration with other NPGS sites, efficiently and effectively regenerate accessions that require long growing seasons and/or arid conditions, and also serve as the back-up site for the NPGS Corylus genetic resources collection. Objective 2: Efficiently and effectively acquire genetic resources of arid land and industrial crops; maintain their safety, genetic integrity, health and viability; and distribute them and associated information worldwide. • Subobjective 2A: Expand the Parthenium collection through plant exploration, focusing on P. argentatum, especially diploid individuals. • Subobjective 2B: Regenerate seed stocks in the Parthenium, Limnanthes, Physaria, Paysonia, and Cucurbita foetidissima collections, emphasizing accessions with low germination or low seed supply. Prepare and send backup seed to the National Lab for Genetic Resources Preservation (NLGRP). Objective 3: Develop more effective genetic resource maintenance, evaluation, and characterization methods and apply them to priority genetic resources of arid land and industrial crops. Record and disseminate evaluation and characterization data via GRIN-Global and other data sources. Objective 4: With other NPGS genebanks and Crop Germplasm Committees, develop, update, document, and implement best management practices and Crop Vulnerability Statements for arid land and industrial crop genetic resource and information management.

Objective 1: Research Goal 1: Provide land, labor and expertise to plant, grow, harvest, clean and ship regenerated seed or other propagules to other NPGS sites. Approach: The purpose is to support the maintenance of high-quality genetic resource material throughout the NPGS system. Objective 2: Research Goal 2: Implement best management strategies for the acquisition, maintenance, and distribution of the genetic resources of the NALPGRU. Rationale Statement: This objective describes three of the four basic tenets of the mission of the NALPGRU of acquisition, maintenance of the germplasm, and distribution of high quality, healthy, viable, true-to-type genetic resources to the domestic and international scientific and educational communities. The fourth tenet is evaluation and characterization covered in Objective 3. • Subobjective 2A: Expand the Parthenium (guayule) collection through plant exploration, focusing on P. argentatum, especially diploid individuals. Research Goal 2A: Increase the level of genetic diversity in the NALPGRU collections. Approach: The purpose is to acquire new genetic resources to fill critical gaps in the collection. Objective 3: Research Goal 3: Improve maintenance techniques, develop phenotypic descriptors for crops lacking them, and use the descriptors for evaluation and characterization. Approach: This objective describes making collection maintenance more effective and is well aligned with the maintenance portion of Objective 2. Evaluation and characterization of the collections increases the visibility and usefulness of the collections to the stakeholder community. Phenotypic descriptors are very useful to help guide breeders and others toward accessions that will best advance their programs. Phenotyping is a focus of the NALPGRU. Objective 4: Research Goal 4: Regularly document best management practices and update Crop Vulnerability Statements every three to four years. Approach: This objective describes developing updated and documented best management practices for grow-outs and collection management and evaluation.