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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Geneva, New York » Plant Genetic Resources Unit (PGRU) » Research » Research Project #445126

Research Project: Conservation, Characterization, Evaluation, and Utilization of Priority Vegetable Crop Genetic Resources and Associated Descriptive Information

Location: Plant Genetic Resources Unit (PGRU)

Project Number: 8060-21000-031-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

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

Objective 1: Conduct research to develop genetic resource maintenance, evaluation, or characterization methods and, in alignment with the overall NPGS Plan, then apply them to priority vegetable genetic resources to avoid backlogs in genetic resource and information management, and to support genetic enhancement of selected vegetable crops. Sub-objective 1.A. Develop and apply methods to optimize vegetable seed production, seed storage, and regeneration protocols. Apply genotyping strategies to generate data to guide and enhance vegetable acquisition, distribution, and maintenance efforts. Sub-objective 1.B. Apply existing and emerging technologies to characterize and evaluate vegetable germplasm resources for priority traits to ascertain their genetic control and support genetic enhancement and breeding projects. Evaluate priority vegetable genetic resources in accordance with appropriate Cucurbit, Crucifer, Leafy Vegetable, Root and Bulb, or Tomato Crop Germplasm Committee descriptors. Sub-objective 1.C. Resolve backlogs in vegetable genetic resources by completing rescues of jeopardized accessions, increasing viability and pathogen testing throughput, and optimizing inventory management strategies. Resolve genetic resource information management backlogs by making associated data available on GRIN-Global and cross-validating inventory metadata. Objective 2: Acquire, distribute, and maintain the safety, genetic integrity, health, and viability of priority vegetable genetic resources and associated descriptive information. Sub-objective 2.A. Identify and fill gaps in tomato, onion, brassica, winter squash, celery, and radish collections to expand genetic diversity through the collection, germplasm exchange, cooperator donations, and integration of expired Plant Variety Protection material. Distribute pure vegetable genetic resources and associated information to NPGS stakeholders. Sub-objective 2.B. Maintain the safety of genetic resources by local and cooperative regenerations. Ensure the long-term safety of vegetable genetic resource collections by systematically completing backups at National Laboratory for Genetic Resource Preservation and other appropriate seedbanks. Collaborate with GRIN-Global and appropriate databases to ensure information associated with vegetable genetic resources are available and accessible via hyperlinking or searches. Sub-objective 2.C. Work closely with other NPGS genebanks, Crop Germplasm Committees, GRIN-Global, and other stakeholders to develop and update Crop Vulnerability Statements for priority vegetable genetic resources.

Vegetable seed production and regeneration will be via replicated regeneration pollination experiments to determine optimal cage and pollinator parameters. Seed storage will be optimized via the development and application of a suite of Best Management Practices. Genotyping strategies will be applied to critical crops to better understand and characterize biotic and abiotic resistance in tomatoes and their crop wild relatives. Genotype by sequencing of the asparagus collection will be used to set conservation priorities and understand underlying population structure. CGCs will be actively engaged in routine and special characterization and phenotyping projects run against crop collections held at PGRU. All phenotype and molecular marker data will be captured within GRIN-Global to better serve the plant science and breeding community. Jeopardized accessions will be rescued in greenhouse and growth chambers with the expectation of further multiplying seed in field regenerations and subsequent distribution to NPGS Stakeholders. Special emphasis will be placed on historically underutilized crop groups. Special emphasis during the Project Plan will be placed on development and application of up-to-date Best Management Practices, testing, and inventory management practices. This work will apply gap analysis of current PGRU vegetable crop collections via hybrid approaches to aid in identification, restoration, and enhancement of genetic resources. To increase regeneration throughput, existing collaborative seed increase efforts will be supported, and new collaborations will be developed. Critical accessions will be targeted for regeneration and backed up. In collaboration with CGCs, and critical stakeholders, crop vulnerability statements will be drafted.