Submitted to: Society for Economic Botany Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2005
Publication Date: 6/5/2005
Citation: Seiler, G.J. 2005. Seeds for our future: Ex situ conservation of genetic diversity of economic plants by the USDA National Plant Germplasm System. The Economics of Ethnobotany, 46th Annual Meeting of the Society for Economic Botany, June 5-9, 2005, Fort Worth, TX. p. 34-35.
Technical Abstract: The U. S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) is a cooperative effort of public (state and federal) and private organizations. The mission of the NPGS is to collect, document, preserve, evaluate, and distribute plant genetic resources for improving the quality and production of economic crops important to the USA and world agriculture. The NPGS preserves the genetic diversity of over 9,000 plant species. Currently, 458,000 accessions of modern and obsolete cultivars, landraces, wild relatives of cultivated species, improved breeding lines, and genetic stocks are held in regional gene banks distributed throughout the USA. The long-term storage of seeds of the base (backup) collection is at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation, Fort Collins, CO, USA. Documentation of accessions in the NPGS is handled by the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), a centralized computer database designed to facilitate the management and operation of the NPGS. The GRIN system is also used for requesting germplasm from the NPGS. The NPGS is devoted to the free and unrestricted exchange of germplasm with all nations and permits access to USA collections by any person with a valid use. The National Plant Germplasm System distributes germplasm to foreign requesters in compliance with federal quarantine regulations and restrictions of the United States and the recipient country. Germplasm is available in small quantities for research purposes. The NPGS distributes 125,000 samples per year, or about 30% of the collection, with 75% domestic requests, and the remaining 25% foreign.