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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Agricultural Genetic Resources Preservation Research » Research » Research Project #442395

Research Project: Collaborative Research with the Center for Plant Conservation to Determine Responses to Long-term Storage Conditions

Location: Agricultural Genetic Resources Preservation Research

Project Number: 3012-21000-017-011-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: May 1, 2022
End Date: Apr 30, 2026

The purpose of this project is to document storage response of seed from California native plants, particularly as it relates to long-term storage of seeds that have been dried to tolerated levels and then placed at low temperature (-20, -80 or <-170C) for short and long times. Completed work will provide evidence of when germplasm loses viability in long-term storage, with typical time-frames requiring decades of storage at low temperature for seeds having orthodox traits. The research involves seeds that are collected from wild populations and may suffer from reproductive failure. Hence, additional objectives include development of new methods that use milligram size samples to limit consumption of seeds from viability monitoring during long-term storage. Finally, this research is intended to improve handling of heterogeneous samples in which seeds in a sample exhibit differences in size, seed fill, maturity and germination requirements. This agreement allows for longterm conventional storage of CPC seeds.

This agreement deals specifically with research to promote genebank management of plant germplasm collected from California wild populations. These types of accessions are quite challenging because they usually have too-few seeds, quality is affected by growth conditions and population size, development of the seed (maturation) and germination requirements are relatively undocumented, and there is simply no information regarding germplasm tolerance of genebanking conditions (i.e., low RH, low temperature and long times). Accessions may be collected from remote locations, making them expensive to acquire and requiring exacting care in the genebank. Past research shows that seeds from wild species exhibit far more diverse responses to genebanking conditions than cultivated grains (e.g., soybean and corn), and so this type of material is needed to fully understand and mitigate the true challenges of banking genetic resources for future use.