Submitted to: American Society of Horticulture Science Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2006
Publication Date: 7/1/2006
Citation: Gardner, C.A. 2006. Germplasm Collection Maintenance and Operations - Increasing the Value of Plant Germplasm. American Society of Horticulture Science Meeting. HortScience. 41(4): 935 Interpretive Summary: American Society of Horticultural Science annual meeting attendees will learn about the operations associated with the maintenance of the National Plant Germplasm System’s plant genetic resource collections, particularly those held at the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station in Ames, IA. Processes designed to increase our knowledge of and the value of the collections to researchers will be described.
Technical Abstract: Plant genetic resources are valued as reservoirs and sources of valuable genes and traits for agricultural success. The functions and operations of the National Plant Germplasm System center around its mission – to acquire, document, maintain, characterize, evaluate, distribute and enhance plant genetic resources. Maintenance requires preserving the original genetic profile as much as possible. Maintenance and regeneration activities are complex, multifaceted, and unique to each species. Germination, propagation, culture, controlled pollination, pest control, harvest of mature seed, preserving quality through the drying and processing stages, and proper preservation of seed are all key to success. Procedures are dictated by the biology of each species, its adaptive characteristics, the growing environment, and the approaches used by the curatorial staff. Distribution of quality germplasm depends upon careful attention to each of these steps and testing to ensure that the phytosanitary requirements of each requestor are met. Documentation of the materials, from the point of plant collection or entry into the NPGS, is designed to capture what is known about adaptation and an accession’s native environment, its reactions to a host of environmental conditions and challenges, morphological, phenological, phenotypic and molecular characteristics. The value of germplasm to researchers is increased when it is well-characterized and transferred via the public database GRIN. Utilizing regeneration cycles to document germplasm characteristics adds value while saving resources.