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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Plant Stress and Germplasm Development Research » Research » Research Project #443543

Research Project: Development of Climate Resilient Germplasm and Management Tools for Sustainable Row Crop Production

Location: Plant Stress and Germplasm Development Research

Project Number: 3096-21000-023-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

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

1. Employ field and digital agronomy tools to identify quality, characterize and exploit traits that enhance stress tolerance and increase yield in row crops, such as cotton (NP301, C3, PS3A). 2. Determine genetic variability in plant environmental stress responses and exploit the diversity by designing and evaluating genotype-specific production schemes that recognize environmental limitations and interactions (NP301, C3, PS3A). Sub-objective 2A: Determine genetic variability on developing progeny-germplasm and mapping populations by evaluating genotype-specific responses to disease resistance (such as resistance to FOV4) and resilience to water-deficit stress. Sub-objective 2B: Exploit the genetic diversity on developed progeny-germplasm and mapping populations by evaluating genotype-specific approaches through whole genome sequencing, SNP biomarker-trait associations, and gene discovery associated with response to abiotic and biotic stress. Sub-objective 2C: Exploit the diversity of the causal mutation in heat sensitive (hs) sorghum mutants by mapping, cloning, and characterizing the function of identified genes. Sub-objective 2D. Recognize environmental limitations and interactions on heat responses of sorghum in reproductive tissues by characterizing and identifying genetic components critical for heat tolerance in sorghum. 3. Develop and implement crop management systems for water-limited and rainfed production environments by combining the strengths of climate-resilient new varieties with diverse local production practices (NP301, C3, PS3A). Sub-objective 3.A: Optimize the stay-green trait in grain sorghum for higher assimilate production and translocation to grain under stressful and favorable conditions. Sub-objective 3B: Characterizing cold tolerance in cotton by evaluating genetically diverse germplasm and the effect of planting dates on quantitative and qualitative yield. Sub-objective 3C: Characterize impact of elevated temperatures on cotton and peanut physiology and yield.

Widespread climate disruptions, increases in mean temperature, increased heat waves, altered rainfall patterns, and the emergence of new biotic (pests and diseases) stresses produced by increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations are threatening agricultural productivity in many regions of the world, notably semi-arid regions. Additionally, recent shifts in consumer demand and corporate values are prompting manufacturers and retailers to include sustainability goals into their buying practices. So, the development and adoption of climate-resilient germplasm and new management tools not only improves crop productivity and sustainability, but also provides a quantitative measure of inputs that can be used to improve practices, decrease carbon, and water footprints, and enhance marketability of the crop. The elucidation of how biological mechanisms control plant stress responses and disease resistance and how the environment, both natural and managed, defines, and restricts crop productivity, provide the foundation for the ability to improve agricultural production in low-input systems. The two approaches for improving future production in this project are: 1) development of germplasm that is better suited to the future production environment (less water, less fertilizer, sub- or supra-optimal temperature, altered biotic pressures), and 2) identification of management tools and approaches that optimize crop performance within a given environment. Genetic improvements will be derived from active, targeted selection of traits in diverse germplasm grown under relevant production scenarios. The successful completion of this project will provide the development of new remote sensing approaches for germplasm screening, crop management, maximizing crop value capture; fill the knowledge gap and design better traditional and molecular breeding strategies for developing resilient cotton, sorghum, and peanut varieties to water-deficit stress and diseases, and increase our understanding of plant response to environmental stress, having a direct impact on economic sustainability of agricultural production in semi-arid environments. The proposed research is relevant to the NP 301 Action Plan, Component 1. Crop Genetic Improvement: Problem Statement 1A, Trait discovery, analysis, and superior breeding methods and 1B, New crops, new varieties, and enhanced germplasm with superior traits; Component 2. Plant and microbial genetic resource and information management: Problem Statement 2A, Plant and microbial genetic resource and information management; Component 3. Crop Biological and Molecular Processes: Problem Statement 3A: Fundamental knowledge of plant biological and molecular processes; and Component 4. Information resources and tools for crop genetics, genomics, and genetic improvement: Problem Statement 4A, Information resources and tools for crop genetics, genomics, and genetic improvement.