Submitted to: National Symposium on New Crops and New Uses
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/10/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: During the 1990s, the popularity of Echinacea as a dietary supplement in the US increased markedly scientists responded to this phenomenon by increasing efforts to understand the biology, cultivation, and pharamacology of these plants. Unfortunately, few, well-documented living Echinacea collections were available to support that research. In response, during the mid-1990s, the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station (NCRPIS) began assembling collections from wild populations from throughout its native range in North America. By the end of the decade, the NCRPIS acquired samples of more than 130 different wild populations, including all known species. In 1999, the NCRPIS began a large-scale regeneration project both to conserve the populations (which are often threatened in nature by commercial exploitation) and to make seeds available for research. In 2000, control pollinated seeds were produced from more than 80 populations to allow their distribution. During the course of regeneration, we collected a wide range of morphological descriptors, and taxonomic identities were verified. Once all harvesting is complete, roots will be removed for chemical characterization. In addition to morphological and chemical characterization, the genetic diversity among regenerated populations will be estimated by using molecular markers including nucleotide sequence variation and amplified fragment length polymorphisms.