Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » National Germplasm Resources Laboratory » Research » Research Project #444127

Research Project: Genetic Resources Acquisition, Conservation, International Exchange, and Taxonomic Expertise in Support of the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System

Location: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-21000-302-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 26, 2023
End Date: Mar 25, 2028

Objective 1: Support, plan, and/or conduct, in alignment with the overall NPGS Plan, international and domestic explorations and exchanges to acquire plant genetic resources, especially of crop wild relatives and landraces of major, specialty and new crops, to fill gaps in the holdings of key NPGS plant genetic resource collections. Objective 2. Expand the NPGS program of complementary conservation (ex situ and in situ) of crop wild relatives in the United States, in alignment with the overall NPGS Plan, through collaborations with federal, state, and private agencies. Objective 3. Maintain GRIN Taxonomy for Plants and, in alignment with the overall NPGS Plan, expand the nomenclatural, classificatory, and geographical information available for crop wild relatives. Objective 4. Manage the import and export of germplasm involved in international germplasm exchanges. Objective 5. Serve as coordinator and secretariat for the 44 CGCs that provide technical input for NPGS plant genetic resource management plans and priorities.

Support the acquisition of plant genetic resources for the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS), focusing on plants that fill gaps in accessions. Manage the Plant Exploration and Exchange program by updating and distributing proposal guidelines, conducting review of proposals, coordinating funding, maintaining records of explorations, verifying that accessions are submitted to the NPGS, and ensuring that accessions and associated data are documented properly in GRIN-Global. Guide scientists on proposal preparation, obtaining permissions for collecting, trip planning, documentation of collections, collecting protocols, recommended equipment, and other matters. For foreign explorations, locate national authorities for access to genetic resources per the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Identify appropriate benefit sharing for foreign explorations in cooperation with U.S.-based explorers, NPGS curators, collaborating foreign scientists, and national authorities on access in the host country. Expand the complementary conservation of crop wild relatives (CWR) in the United States. Identify areas in the U.S. that support significant populations of CWR. Expand collaboration to new partners, increase the numbers of CWR conserved, and provide improved access to information about CWR. Work with land managing agencies to select and designate natural areas as resource reserves for CWR. Develop an integrated conservation strategy for species of grapes (Vitis spp.) native to the United States that are important CWR of the cultivated wine grape (Vitis vinifera). Maintain and expand GRIN Taxonomy for Plants. Research changes to existing taxonomic classifications or nomenclature for possible adoption. Document all data with references in GRIN-Global. Promote the use of GRIN Taxonomy among genetic resources managers and customers by enhancing the internet search pages, encouraging user feedback, and maintaining the integrity of the scientific nomenclature. Update current and develop new crop wild relative classifications for crops based on thorough review of all pertinent taxonomic and phylogenetic literature, as well as similar review of the plant genetic, breeding, and other crop science literature. Assist scientists in complying with USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) regulations for importing germplasm. Support the import and export of germplasm by facilitating agricultural inspections and issuances of phytosanitary certificates for NPGS genebanks. Guide NPGS curators and other staff about APHIS regulations for shipping germplasm. Serve as an interface between APHIS and the NPGS genebanks for incoming and outgoing shipments of germplasm. Coordinate and document activities for the 44 Crop Germplasm Committees (CGCs) that provide technical input for NPGS plant genetic resource management plans and priorities. Plan the annual meetings of the CGC Chairs and maintain documentation of the CGCs’ rosters, crop vulnerability statements, and other activities. Act as a liaison between CGCs and ARS leadership on issues related to plant genetic resources.