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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Horticultural Crops Production and Genetic Improvement Research Unit » Research » Research Project #444953

Research Project: Impedance Flow Cytometry to Characterize Pollen

Location: Horticultural Crops Production and Genetic Improvement Research Unit

Project Number: 2072-21000-055-042-G
Project Type: Grant

Start Date: May 1, 2023
End Date: Oct 31, 2024

Implement new technology to quantify and characterize pollen in ornamental allied breeding programs in the Pacific Northwest.

Successful breeding of woody trees and shrubs for the nursery industry (as well as other crops) requires the ability to assess pollen viability and the frequency of unreduced gametes. During work to characterize Vaccinium pollen, attempts to use traditional flow cytometry to quantify pollen grains and measure size as a proxy for unreduced gametes were unsuccessful. We were not able to recover any data using this method which hinders the progress in nursery crop breeding efforts. Discussions with other scientists in the discipline have indicated similar lack of results. There are few examples in which data published using this method have been reliable. Impedance flow cytometry is a new technology that is specifically designed to measure pollen size and viability by detecting changes in electrical resistance as cells (pollen grains) are passed through the electric field. Acquisition and implementation of this resource will allow our lab to improve characterization capabilities across nursery crops and have impact on other disciplines.