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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Miami, Florida » Subtropical Horticulture Research » Research » Research Project #444017

Research Project: Conservation, Management, Characterization, and Distribution of Subtropical and Tropical Ornamental Genetic Resources

Location: Subtropical Horticulture Research

Project Number: 6038-13210-004-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Feb 1, 2023
End Date: Jan 31, 2028

1: Conduct research to develop genetic resource maintenance, evaluation, or characterization methods and, in alignment with the overall National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) Plan, then apply them to priority tropical and subtropical ornamental genetic resources to avoid backlogs in plant genetic resource and information management. 2: Acquire, distribute, and maintain the safety, genetic integrity, health, and viability of priority tropical and subtropical ornamental genetic resources and associated descriptive information. 3: Broaden the diversity available for genetic improvement of subtropical and tropical ornamental crops by selecting superior genotypes from cultivars, landraces, and wild relatives that could be directly cultivated, or form the bases for novel breeding populations. 3A: Characterization and evaluation of Fiji Dwarf coconuts 3B: Developing molecular resources for Florida native palms and increasing the palm diversity in the NPGS.

The long-term objectives of this project are to ensure a secure and diverse stream of new genetic variation and enhanced germplasm for the subtropical/tropical ornamental horticulture industry as well as generate and consolidate detailed information about the intrinsic genetic variability, systematic relationships, and ornamental merit of genetic resources via genetic characterization, systematic studies, and field evaluation. These objectives are non-hypothesis-driven research. The objectives form an integrated program of subtropical/tropical ornamental germplasm characterization, enhancement, and improved management practices. The program efficiently and effectively maintains the safety, genetic integrity, health, and viability of subtropical and tropical ornamental genetic resources. Collections of priority tropical and subtropical ornamental taxa and associated information will be strategically expanded and improved, distributing them worldwide to customers and stakeholders, emphasizing priority genera identified by appropriate Crop Germplasm Committees. Guided by new knowledge of the genetic relationships and valuable ornamental traits of poorly-known plants, superior new cultivars, and genetically enhanced populations and/or selections of priority subtropical and tropical ornamental crops will be developed. Application of high throughput genomic technologies involving next-generation sequencing (NGS) and phenomic approaches will be carried out to improve the selection of cultivars and explore native wild germplasm that would eventually enable breeders, biologists, and other stakeholders to use these genetic resources more effectively and efficiently.