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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Mayaguez, Puerto Rico » Tropical Crops and Germplasm Research » Research » Research Project #441979

Research Project: Field Verification and Characterization of Musa Germplasm Maintained in Vitro and Cryopreservation at the Intl Musa Germplasm Transit Centre(ITC)

Location: Tropical Crops and Germplasm Research

Project Number: 6090-21000-061-010-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Nov 1, 2021
End Date: Apr 30, 2024

Conservation strategies rely on the stability and availability of conserved plant genetic resources, both in situ and ex situ. At Bioversity’s International Musa Germplasm Transit Centre (ITC), the genetic integrity of the in vitro collection is continually assessed. The ITC is the largest banana genebank, with more than 1,500 accessions available to researchers and breeders. Stakeholders need to know that the germplasm they request is true-to-type and be able to access available data on the germplasm. Bioversity International has the mandate to not only safeguard banana diversity, but to promote its use for the benefit of current and future generations. It is therefore essential to fully document each accession maintained at the ITC. In collaboration with the USDA-ARS Tropical Agriculture Research Station (USDA-ARS-TARS), Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Bioversity International established a field verification process to ensure the characterization of the ITC collection, and secondly, to establish studies to evaluate accessions that may have potential horticultural value. To make full use of these accessions, a field verification system is needed. The USDA/ARS Tropical Agricultural Research Station (USDA/ARS/TARS) is responsible for the acquisition, evaluation, characterization, and maintenance of the only banana collection within the United States. This facility has extensive experience in banana and plantain management, characterization, and evaluation, and as such provides Bioversity International the means to field verify true-to-typenes of hundreds of banana/plantain accessions that have been stored in tissue culture and/or liquid nitrogen for more than 10 years.

In this project, USDA-ARS-TARS and Bioversity will work together to field verify these Musa accessions. Bananas and plantains (Musa spp.) in vitro plants are received at USDA-ARS-TARS from the International Musa Germplasm Transit Centre, Leuven, Belgium. Plants are transferred to soil media and acclimated in the greenhouse. Once the plants are established, they are transplanted to the field site at the Isabela Research Farm for field verification using specified plant descriptors. A set of three plants per accession are planted and characterized. As a minimum, 32 plant descriptors as well as standard digital images of 15 plant parts are taken from each plant. These data are transferred to Bioversity International for final assessment and data storage. The data produced is available to stakeholders and the scientific community.