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

Research Project: Plant and Microbial Genetic Resource Preservation

Location: Plant and Animal Genetic Resources Preservation

2018 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Obj. 1: Efficiently and effectively preserve and back-up the NPGS base seed collection, designated non-NPGS seed collections, cryopreserved NPGS clonal accessions, microbial collections, and information associated with those genetic resources. 1.1 Receive, process and preserve NPGS germplasm (seed and clonal) in the safety back up collection (i.e. base collection) and in the Svalbard Seed Vault to secure U.S. germplasm through safety backup; receive and store non-NPGS collections in accordance to Unit protocols. 1.2: Coordinate with U.S. Culture Collection Network (USCCN) to identify and secure vulnerable microbe collections; store and distribute standard plant pathogen sets in support of the Collaboration for Plant Pathogen Strain Identification (CPSSI) initiative at UC, Davis. Obj. 2: With NPGS cooperators, develop, update, document, and implement more effective long-term maintenance and preservation methods for the plant and microbial genetic resources preserved at the NLGRP. Record and disseminate genetic resource viability and quality data via GRIN-Global and other data sources. 2.1: Develop dormant bud cryo-procedures for nut crop cultivars (i.e. Carya, Juglans) using cryoprotectants; examine efficacy of using fluorometric measurements to assess post cryo viability of dormant buds. 2.2: Collaborating with NPGS sites that manage fruit and nut collections, and PGPR scientists, implement best practices to routinely secure seed and pollen of fruit and nut germplasm (i.e. Citrus, Juglans, Vitis, Malus, Prunus); with a priority on crop wild relative species. 2.3: Increase efficacy and cost-effectiveness of seed preservation by evaluating the use of agar as a seed viability testing medium; and optimize LN2 storage by identifying best suited species based on historic LN2 exposure test and species longevity data and reviewing and updating general protocols with collaborator input. 2.4: Evaluate the efficacy of long-term storage in liquid nitrogen for selected genera of agriculturally important microbes. 2.5: Enhance information systems to effectively manage information associated with the non-NPGS (black box) plant collections, microbial collections, and clonally-propagated collections, collaborating with GRIN-Global staff as needed; widely disseminate germination protocol data. Obj. 3: Conduct “gap analyses” of the ecogeographical distribution of 250 high priority U.S. native crop wild relatives, to guide their strategic acquisition and conservation in situ and in the NPGS. 3.1: Conduct ex situ gap analysis to identify and prioritize gaps in NPGS collections on all species, and produce maps displaying species distribution and patterns of richness; conduct U.S. in situ gap analysis to identify opportunities to conserve native crop wild relative (CWR) in their natural habitat. 3.2: Disseminate national-level gap analysis results to broad audience including NPGS and federal, state and private land management and conservation agencies. 3.3: In collaboration with NPGS curators, plant breeders and other subject matter experts, conduct crop gene pool level gap analysis on Capsicum and Cucurbita; and disseminate results.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
The continued development of productive crop varieties for U.S. agriculture depends on plant scientists’ access to a wide range of well characterized crop genetic diversity. The U.S. National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) is one of the largest and most diverse genebank systems in the world, and the Plant and Animal Genetic Resources Preservation Unit at the National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation is a critical component of the NPGS. Our mission is to provide secure long-term preservation of the NPGS base collection, designated non-NPGS seed, and microbial collections, so that these invaluable genetic resources are available to present and future crop scientists (Objective 1). As information about genetic resources highly determines the degree of use of these materials, an integral part of the mission also involves managing and disseminating the data associated with germplasm. We also work to improve our procedures to be both more effective with regard to results and also more efficient with regard to costs (Objective 2). Finally, we play a prominent role in securing and making available our national heritage of U.S. crop wild relatives (Objective 3). We accomplish these tasks via close collaboration with crop curators throughout the NPGS, as well as with other national and international genebanks. Our central focus on U.S. germplasm preservation will ensure that one of the world’s most diverse crop genetic resource collection is safeguarded for the long-term and thus able to continue to underpin the productivity of U.S. agriculture.

3. Progress Report:
This is a new project which replaced 3012-21000-013-00D. For more information, see the report for 3012-21000-013-00D.

4. Accomplishments