Location: Tropical Crops and Germplasm ResearchTitle: The tropical germplasm repository program at the USDA-ARS, Tropical Agriculture Research Station, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
Submitted to: Caribbean Food Crops Society Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/11/2017
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The USDA-ARS Tropical Agriculture Research Station is the only research entity within the National Plant Germplasm system in the insular Caribbean region. It houses germplasm collections of cultivated tropical/subtropical germplasm of bananas/plantains, cacao, mamey sapote, sapodilla, Spanish lime, species in the Annona and Garcinia genera, and bamboo. The lack of well established, organized and properly maintained ex situ germplasm collections could mean the loss of useful genetic resources. Cacao, tropical fruit germplasm and bamboo collections exist, however genetic diversity is underrepresented and accessions lack characterization data. Cacao, tropical fruit and bamboo genetic resources are being added to existing collections, maintained, characterized and distributed which aids in diversifying Puerto Rico’s and the region’s agricultural economies. Germplasm genotypic characterizations utilizes current and novel molecular approaches for determination of genetic integrity and for estimation of genetic diversity. Deficiencies identified in genetic diversity comprehensiveness are being addressed by introduction of representative germplasm. In vitro and cryopreservation techniques are assessed for their increased propagation efficiency, ease of distribution and for backup purposes. In addition, cacao, mango, papaya and Musa spp. genetic resources are evaluated for priority horticultural traits. All data (genotypic/phenotypic) is made available to stakeholders via scientific presentations, publications, websites and the GRIN-Global database and disease-tested genetic resources is distributed, in limited quantities, for research and educational purposes. Progress in cacao and tropical fruit germplasm, genetics, genomics, genetic improvement, and production is accelerated by the information and genetic resources furnished by this project.