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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Agricultural Genetic Resources Preservation Research » Research » Research Project #434330

Research Project: Efficient and Effective Preservation and Management of Plant and Microbial Genetic Resource Collections

Location: Agricultural Genetic Resources Preservation Research

Project Number: 3012-21000-015-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 20, 2018
End Date: Mar 19, 2023

Objective 1: Efficiently and effectively preserve and back-up plant genetic resource collections under conventional (freezer) conditions. Objective 2: Efficiently and effectively cryopreserve and back-up plant and microbial genetic resource collections using liquid nitrogen as the cryogen. Objective 3: Design and test methods and strategies for exploiting genomic data to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the NPGS’s plant genetic resource management projects. Objective 4: Formulate and validate methods and strategies for efficiently and effectively sampling, preserving, and using the genetic diversity of selected crop wild relatives.

Genetic resources are the foundation of the United States’ agricultural future; their safety, health, and genetic integrity must be safeguarded. The USDA/ARS National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation (NLGRP) will safeguard the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) base seed collection, designated non-NPGS seed collections, cryopreserved NPGS clonal accessions, microbial collections, and information associated with those genetic resources. With almost a million accessions, it will be responsible for preserving the world’s largest collection of plant and microbial genetic resources stored under one roof. This is particularly challenging for the NLGRP, and all of the NPGS, because the size of the genebank holdings continue to expand. Effective priority-setting can partially address that challenge, but it alone is not a solution. Research that generates effective strategies and methods for progressively improving the efficiency of plant genetic resource management is also critically important for successfully attaining the NPGS’s mission under challenging fiscal conditions. This project will provide long-term plant and microbial genetic resource storage. Genetic resources will be backed-up, monitored, and maintained with up-to-date, documented, best management practices, so that vigorous, pathogen-free seeds, propagules, and microbial cultures can be distributed when needed to other NPGS sites and other active collections. With other NPGS cooperators, this project will capitalize on its substantial capacity for seed testing and genetic resource storage in liquid nitrogen to assist NPGS genebanks which manage “active collections.”