Submitted to: Trade Journal Publication
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/20/2004
Publication Date: 4/1/2005
Citation: Bradley, V.L. 2005. Germplasm collections: diversity in the u.s. cool-season grass collection. TPI Turf News. March/April 2005:53-57.
Technical Abstract: The USDA, ARS, National Plant Germplasm System cool-season grass collection is maintained at the Western Regional Plant Introduction Station (WRPIS) in Pullman, Washington. The almost 18,000 accessions in this collection is comprised of 855 species and were acquired from 98 countries. These accessions may have been collected from wild populations of domesticated species, or they may be old cultivars no longer maintained by their original developers. Others are elite lines donated by breeders, accessions donated by international genetic resource programs, and some may be "weeds" whose potential value is not yet known. One of the major goals at WRPIS is to produce high-quality seed that is as much like the parent population as possible, to insure we have an adequate genepool from which breeders and researchers may select for valuable traits. Plant character data and digital images on accessions are collected as time and resources allow, and these are routinely posted on the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Dr. Richard Johnson, the Agronomy Research Scientist, has played a major role in research related to turfgrass species at the WRPIS. His program has provided most of the characterization data on Kentucky bluegrass. He has also evaluated the response of selected Kentucky bluegrass accessions to post-harvest residue management, evaluated selected materials for variation in agronomic factors including yield and yield components, and conducted extensive research on seed increase procedures to ensure we maintain the diversity of our materials. Dr. Steve Clement, the station Entomologist, has conducted research to examine the incidence and diversity of endophytes in our grass collection. He is studying the long-term survival of endophytes in grass seed under different storage conditions and has investigated the susceptibility to attack by cereal aphids of different grasses having the endophyte. The worth of the temperate grass collection lies in the genetic diversity of the material and the research we conduct to understand and conserve that diversity. This germplasm is a valuable resource for the turfgrass industry and may play a vital role in future research and turfgrass improvement.