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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Geneva, New York » Plant Genetic Resources Unit (PGRU) » Research » Research Project #444227

Research Project: Conservation, Characterization, Evaluation, and Utilization of Hemp Genetic Resources and Associated Descriptive Information

Location: Plant Genetic Resources Unit (PGRU)

Project Number: 8060-21000-034-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: May 15, 2023
End Date: May 14, 2028

Objective 1: Conduct research to develop regulatory compliant genetic resource maintenance, evaluation, testing, and characterization methods and, in alignment with the overall NPGS Plan, apply them to priority hemp genetic resources. Record and disseminate hemp evaluation and characterization data via GRIN-Global and other data sources. Sub-objective 1.A: Develop and apply genomic, phenotyping, and tissue culturing tools that facilitate research and management of regulatory compliant hemp genetic resources. Sub-objective 1.B: Establish efficient data collection and documentation protocols to ensure that data associated with germplasm resources are recorded and disseminated to all stakeholders via GRIN-Global, appropriate public databases, and hyperlinking or searches. Objective 2: Acquire and maintain the safety, genetic integrity, health, and viability of priority hemp genetic resources, and distribute them and associated descriptive information worldwide. Sub-objective 2.A. Identify and fill gaps in the hemp genetic resource collection through acquisition, germplasm exchange, and cooperator donations of regulatory compliant materials. Sub-objective 2.B. Ensure long-term availability of regulatory-compliant hemp genetic resources and associated information and distribute them to NPGS stakeholders. Incorporating associated information into GRIN-Global and appropriate online databases. Sub-objective 2.C. Ensure the long-term safety of hemp genetic resource collections by systematically completing regeneration, pathogen and viability testing, completing backups at National Laboratory for Genetic Resource Preservation and other appropriate seedbanks. Objective 3: With other NPGS genebanks and Crop Germplasm Committees, formulate, update, document, and implement best management practices and Crop Vulnerability Statements for priority hemp genetic resource and information management. Sub-objective 3.A. Strengthen and implement best management practices for research and management of hemp germplasm resources through cooperation and consultation with appropriate Crop Germplasm Committees and other NPGS genebanks. Sub-objective 3.B. Work closely with other NPGS genebanks, Crop Germplasm Committees, and other stakeholders to develop and update Crop Vulnerability Statements for priority hemp genetic resources and information management. Objective 4: Devise and apply research tools, knowledge of hemp genetics and of the genetic control of priority hemp traits to create genetically enhanced hemp germplasm that broadens the diversity available for hemp production. Sub-objective 4.A: Develop genomic information, molecular markers, biotechnology, and high throughput phenotyping tools and apply them to characterize and elucidate genetic control of priority traits. Sub-objective 4.B. Investigate the genetic control of priority traits and apply pre-breeding methods to accelerate identification of valuable hemp germplasm accessions and the development of breeding lines with superior traits across market classes.

Hemp genetic resources will be obtained and stored under controlled conditions in Geneva, NY for long-term availability and distribution to stakeholders. Routine regenerations, pathogen and viability testing, and backups at National Laboratory for Genetic Resource Preservation will be completed to ensure long-term viability of hemp germplasm. Hemp accessions will be evaluated for plant architecture, secondary metabolites, fiber, and seed quality in randomized and replicated field trials. Accessions with total ¿-9-tetrahydrocannabinol levels less than 0.3% will be listed as available for distribution. Regulatory compliant germplasm will be grown in field trials in at least six states throughout the U.S. to quantify genetic and environmental interactions that influence critically important traits. Characterization information will be uploaded to GRIN-Global. Best management practices and Crop Vulnerability Statements for priority hemp genetic resource and information management will be formulated with other NPGS genebanks and Crop Germplasm Committees. Plants with complementary traits will be hybridized and the resulting populations will be advanced to the F2 generation. Accessions and populations will be genotyped with a high-density genotyping platform. Genotypes will be utilized to understand population structure within the hemp collection. Gaps in the collection and sources to fill these gaps will be identified. Genotypes and trait phenotypes will be used for genome-wide association analysis, and generating linkage maps for F2 populations. Molecular markers that are tightly linked with genetic loci that control important traits will be validated with PACE assays and the resulting primer sequences will be published. Important F2 populations will be advanced through single seed descent to determine if inbred lines can be developed.