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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research » Research » Research Project #443951

Research Project: Genetic Resource and Information Management for Pulse, Temperate Forage Legume, Oilseed, Vegetable, Grasses, Sugar, Ornamental, and Other Crops

Location: Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research

Project Number: 2090-21000-037-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jan 29, 2023
End Date: Jan 28, 2028

Objective 1: Acquire, distribute, and maintain the safety, genetic integrity, health, and viability of priority pulse, temperate forage legume, oilseed, vegetable, turf and forage grass, sugar, ornamental, and medicinal plant genetic resources and associated descriptive information. Sub-objective 1.A: Acquire samples and associated passport information of priority plant genetic resources (including crop wild relatives) from the U.S. and/or other countries to fill current gaps in NPGS genetic resource collections. Sub-objective 1.B: Classify, conserve, and distribute PGITRU plant genetic resources and their associated information. Sub-objective 1.C: Regenerate accessions of priority plant genetic resources, emphasizing accessions with low germination, few seeds in storage, or those not yet backed-up at secondary sites. Objective 2: Conduct research to develop genetic resource maintenance, evaluation, or characterization methods and, in alignment with the overall NPGS Plan, then apply them to priority pulse, temperate forage legume, oilseed, vegetable, turf and forage grass, sugar, ornamental, and medicinal plant genetic resources to avoid backlogs in plant genetic resource and information management. Sub-objective 2.A: Conduct research to identify storage and quality regeneration conditions ideal for priority crops and wild relatives. Sub-objective 2.B: Evaluate germplasm accessions for priority agronomic and horticultural traits (e.g., nutritional) and biotic and abiotic stresses. Incorporate evaluation data into the GRIN-Global and/or other databases. Sub-objective 2.C: In collaboration with university and industry partners, apply genotypic characterization techniques (e.g., next generation sequencing) and platforms (e.g., arrays) to selected crop accessions to estimate genetic diversity, relationships, and population structure, and identify gaps in the genetic coverage of the collection. Incorporate characterization data into the GRIN-Global and/or other (e.g., SciNet, NCBI, etc.) databases. Sub-objective 2.D: With other NPGS genebanks and CGCs, develop, update, document, and implement best management practices and Crop Vulnerability Statements (CVS) for legume, oilseed, vegetable, turf and forage grass, sugar, ornamental, and medicinal genetic resource for which they are lacking. Objective 3: Breed genetically-enhanced germplasm that broadens the diversity available for improving selected crops by incorporating superior traits from cultivars, landraces, and wild relatives into adapted genetic backgrounds and gene pools. Sub-objective 3.A: Conduct collaborative crossing and selection programs to breed agronomically improved and disease-resistant germplasm. Sub-objective 3.B: Through genomic and field evaluation data analyses, identify genetic markers associated with quality traits and resilience to biotic and abiotic stresses for application to crop genetic enhancement. Sub-objective 3.C: Develop genetic mapping tools and resources for elucidating and validating the genetic basis of economically important traits for incorporation into genetic enhancement programs.

Conserve, regenerate, evaluate and distribute ~100,000 accessions of cool season food and forage legumes, grasses, common beans, oilseeds, vegetables, beets, ornamentals, medicinal crops and related and native wild species, and associated information according to the National Plant Germplasm System Distribution Policy and the established protocols and procedures. Keep our active plant genetic resource collections in the seed storage facilities with adequate conditions for proper conservation of seed samples for short and medium term storage and for people entering the storage space to take samples for distribution and for viability tests. Monitor seed viability by periodic germination tests at variable intervals depending on the species. Ship high quality seed samples to National Laboratory for Germplasm Resources Preservation at Ft. Collins, Colorado and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway for long-term security back-up. Try to address backlogs in regeneration and data entry into the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN)-Global where these backlogs exist. Conduct collaborative plant collection trips and germplasm exchange to acquire samples to fill gaps in NPGS collections, and to supply critically needed traits to support current and future breeding and research. Evaluate the phenotypic variation of economic traits of specialty crops independently or collaboratively. Use laboratory equipment to characterize major nutritional components of food crop germplasm such as using near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy to quantify the major nutritional component content of food legume genetic resources. Apply existing and newly developed genomic tools and technologies such as the Next Generation DNA sequencing to characterize genetic diversity, phylogenetic relationship and marker-trait association of priority crop collections. Upload characterization/evaluation data into GRIN-Global and/or other databases. Conduct research on best methods to regenerate wild species in the collections, including germination and pollination requirements. Survey production fields, identify pathogens causing emerging diseases with morphological, cultural and molecular techniques, investigate interactions among these host plants and their pathogens, and devise and apply pathogen management strategies to maintain the health of the assigned genetic resources. With collaborators, create new crosses with genebank materials to create segregating material that will be of use to breeders. Create new bi-parental populations or diverse panels for use in identifying new genes controlling crop traits of interest. Validate and make markers linked to genes controlling useful crop traits easy to use by public breeders. Publish research results and release segregating or improved germplasm, and useful genetic markers, to the user community. Update the pertinent section of Operations Manual with reference to changes in collection holdings, management technologies and practices, diagnostic procedures, roles of personnel and any other relevant changes. Work with relevant crop germplasm committees to update the Crop Vulnerability Statements of the crops under our management.