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ARS Home » Research » Research Project #443835

Research Project: Management of Germplasm and Associated Descriptive Data for Crops Adapted to Arid Lands and Regeneration of Germplasm with Special Climate Needs

Location: Office of The Director

Project Number: 2034-21000-013-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 1, 2023
End Date: Feb 29, 2028

Objective 1: Conduct research to develop genetic resource regeneration, maintenance, evaluation, or characterization methods and, in alignment with the overall NPGS Plan, apply them to priority arid-adapted plant genetic resources to avoid backlogs in genetic resource and information management. Sub-objective 1.A: Based on the data collected in the NPGS Plan, develop a long term PGR management strategy for addressing current needs and avoiding future backlogs in the management of the NALPGRU arid lands emerging crop collection. Sub-objective 1.B: Investigate and develop new PGR management methods for NALPGRU crops. Collect evaluation and characterization data and make them available through GRIN-Global and other data sources. Objective 2: Conduct research to develop regeneration methods and, in alignment with the overall NPGS Plan, apply them to priority plant genetic resources that require long seasons and/or arid climates so as to avoid backlogs in genetic resource regeneration. Objective 3: Acquire, distribute, and maintain the safety, genetic integrity, health, and viability of priority arid-adapted plant genetic resources and associated descriptive information. Sub-objective 3.A: Strategically increase genetic diversity of the Parthenium (guayule) and Opuntia collections by addressing stakeholder-identified gaps through plant exploration and exchange. Sub-objective 3.B: Continue to maintain the highest possible availability, quality, and security of seed and clonal germplasm in diverse collections of arid-adapted new crops. Sub-objective 3.C: Distribute high-quality germplasm in the form of seeds, cuttings, and plant tissue to stakeholders worldwide.

1.A: We will consult with partners to create a PGR management strategy based on the NPGS Plan. This strategy will include prioritized lists of backlogs to address by crop as well as plans for further reducing and preventing backlogs in the future. 1.B: We will identify core diversity and production subsets in the guayule collection. We will investigate seed quality in guayule regeneration by comparing caged and open-pollinated plants. If caging does not impact quality, we will follow with a comparison of caged plots with and without pollinators. We will phenotype the Opuntia collection, prioritizing the traits most useful to requestors (fruit soluble solids content, fruit size, seediness, spine length, etc). Additionally, we will upload existing photos to GRIN-Global. 2: Regeneration and back-up of accessions from other NPGS sites will be coordinated with the NPGS curators responsible for the crops. This service regeneration objective is distinct from regenerations for crops maintained by NALPGRU (3.B). Regeneration involves growing plants in the field, tracking inventory, controlling/facilitating pollination, monitoring for pests and diseases, collecting descriptor information and photos, harvesting and cleaning seed, and returning increased seed to the priority site along with data for upload to GRIN-Global. 3.A: We will coordinate with the New Crops CGC to plan exploration trips and apply for funding through the Plant Exchange Office (PEO). We will add diversity in Parthenium species through the Seeds of Success program and pursue options of in situ conservation on public lands in Texas through the PEO. We will conduct a gap analysis of the Opuntia collection using recently completed phenotypic and genotypic diversity analyses to determine future collection priorities. 3.B: NALPGRU collections are maintained as clonal and/or seed accessions, depending on the needs of the crop. Seed must be periodically regenerated to maintain viability and distribution. Each year seed inventories will be analyzed to identify accessions with the highest regeneration priority following the PGR management strategy developed in Sub-objective 1.A. Also following the PGR management strategy, seed of the best available quality will be transferred for backup to NLGRP in Ft. Collins, CO. The guayule field plots will be replanted from original seed in 4 stages. The Opuntia field block also requires re-propagation, and will be installed over 2 years. Some existing Opuntia has symptoms of ‘cladode-swelling disease’. The disease can be eradicated by regenerating the plant from asymptomatic tissue or cleaned up using cycles of thermotherapy. This program began in the last planning cycle, and we will continue to produce asymptomatic material for planting in the new perennial block. 3.C: NALPGRU receives requests for germplasm through GRIN-Global and reviews for legitimacy. Domestic requests are shipped directly after meeting phytosanitary requirements. International requests are sent to NGRL in Beltsville for coordination with APHIS and shipment to the destination.