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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Mayaguez, Puerto Rico » Tropical Crops and Germplasm Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #331981

Research Project: Management of Tropical/Subtropical Plant Genetic Resources and Associated Information

Location: Tropical Crops and Germplasm Research

Title: Characterization of the Musa spp. Taxonomic Reference Collection at the USDA-ARS, Tropical Agriculture Research Station.

item Irish, Brian
item Rios, Carlos
item Roux, N. - Bioversity International

Submitted to: Agricultural Research Service Publication
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/14/2016
Publication Date: 7/14/2016
Citation: Irish, B.M., Rios, C., Roux, N. 2016. Characterization of the Musa spp. Taxonomic Reference Collection at the USDA-ARS, Tropical Agriculture Research Station.. Agricultural Research Service Publication. v.1.

Interpretive Summary: Clonally propagated plants grown in different regions around the world do not always perform or look the same. That is because the agro-environment in which they are grown influences their appearance. Many observable traits in clonally-propagated bananas, for example flower appearance, are used in plant taxonomy and/or used to tell varieties apart. However, if traits are unstable and influenced by the environment they become much less useful. In order to determine which traits are valuable in banana, a collection of diverse varieties was assembled and distributed to 12 different locations across tropical regions of the world for evaluation. Data collected from each sites is being shared and combine for analysis with collaborators. This publication presents the in-depth characterization effort at the USDA-ARS Tropical Agriculture Research Station in collaboration with Bioversity International of 34 accessions representing the diversity of Musa.

Technical Abstract: Plant characterization descriptors enable an easy and quick way to discriminate between phenotypes. However, the best descriptors for taxonomy and germplasm rationalization purposes should be highly heritable (i.e., express equally in all environments) and easy to score to avoid bias due to differences in the interpretation of the descriptors. One of the goals of the Global Conservation Strategy for Musa is to comprehensively characterize and document genetic diversity, harmonize taxonomy and rationalize collections. In an effort to begin addressing this goal, a set of descriptors and a minimum set of photos as well as a “Taxonomic Reference Collection” (TRC) were developed. The TRC is composed of 34 accessions representing the diversity of Musa. The TRC in depth characterization is an effort that is currently ongoing and involves 12 different banana field collections around the world. By comparing the characterizations obtained for the 34 accessions of the TRC, with each of the 120 existing descriptors in each of these different collections, the descriptors/traits that are the least variable in different environments can be identified. In addition, by performing this exercise, each field collection will have a set of accessions that will further serve as a taxonomical reference for cultivated bananas and as a training tool. Data and images presented in this publication are also available via the GRIN-Global database and are the TRC characterization efforts for the USDA-ARS Tropical Agriculture Research Station.