Submitted to: Barley: Improvement, Production, and Uses
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/29/2008
Publication Date: 12/14/2010
Citation: Bockelman, H.E., Valkoun, J. 2010. Barley germplasm conservation and resources. Chapter 7 in barley: improvement, production, and uses. Blackwell Publishing, ED.S.E. Ullrich, Barley: Improvement, Production, and Uses, p. 144-159.
Interpretive Summary: A primary objective of germplasm resource programs is to assure continued availability of genetically diverse germplasm with the characteristics required for developing stable, productive, and high quality cultivars. To meet this objective, it is important that germplasm resource programs include collection and evaluation of accessions in addition to the basic function of maintenance. Total of barley germplasm holdings at 47 major barley collections (those with more than 500 accessions) worldwide is approximately 402,000 accessions. The United States is a country with very few native crop species. Early colonists necessarily brought their favorite seeds with them. Native Americans had, at the time of colonization, small fruits, some nuts, sunflowers (including artichoke), as well as introduced crops of maize, beans, tobacco, cotton, and squash. As Native Americans migrated northward from Mexico and Central America, they brought seeds with them. The USDA Barley Collection began in the Cereal Investigations Section of the USDA in Washington, DC, with the introduction of four accessions in 1894 and 11 additional accessions in 1895. Today the NSGC maintains a barley germplasm collection totaling more than 27,900 accessions representing 20 Hordeum species obtained from more than 100 countries.
Technical Abstract: The history and current status of barley germplasm preservation activities is presented on a global scale and specifically for the United States. Total of barley germplasm holdings at 47 major barley collections (those with more than 500 accessions) worldwide is approximately 402,000 accessions. In the U.S. the USDA-ARS National Small Grains Collection maintains a barley germplasm collection totaling more than 27,900 accessions representing 20 Hordeum species obtained from more than 100 countries. The collection includes old and new cultivars and breeding lines, landraces, and genetic stocks. Major activities in the U.S. and worldwide include acquisition, maintenance, regeneration, distribution, and evaluation.