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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Agricultural Genetic Resources Preservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #374147

Research Project: Efficient and Effective Preservation and Management of Plant and Microbial Genetic Resource Collections

Location: Agricultural Genetic Resources Preservation Research

Title: Genetic data inform Yosemite National Park orchard management guidelines

Author
item Volk, Gayle
item MAGBY, JONATHAN - Washington State University
item Henk, Adam
item MILLER, STEVE - University Of Wyoming
item MAZUR, RACHEL - National Park Service

Submitted to: Plants, People, Planet
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/10/2020
Publication Date: 10/16/2020
Citation: Volk, G.M., Magby, J., Henk, A.D., Miller, S., Mazur, R. 2020. Genetic data inform Yosemite National Park orchard management guidelines. Plants, People, Planet. 3(2):142-154. https://doi.org/10.1002/ppp3.10152.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ppp3.10152

Interpretive Summary: The USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm System maintains a large orchard collection of apple cultivars in Geneva, NY. The cultivars in this collection were genotyped using microsatellite markers and now serve as reference cultivars for historic apple tree identification projects. Yosemite National Park has hundreds of historic apple trees that were planted within orchards in the 1800s, prior to the establishment of the park. A new Orchard Management Plan is being developed for Yosemite to determine the fate of Yosemite’s apple trees, which are dying due to old age. In the fall, the fruit of the apple trees within Yosemite National Park attract bears and other wildlife into visitor recreation areas, causing undesirable wildlife-human interactions. This paper uses the USDA National Plant Germplasm System reference apple collection to identify 361 unknown apple trees in Yosemite using microsatellite markers. The cultivar names of 117 apple trees were identified and an additional 92 trees were determined to be likely cultivars. A total of 152 trees had unique genotypes that did not match reference datasets. This information, along with other considerations including the elimination of human-wild life conflict, cost, and visitor access will contribute to the development of a new Orchard Management Plan for Yosemite.

Technical Abstract: Yosemite National Park has hundreds of historic apple trees that were planted within orchards in the 1800s, prior to the establishment of the park. A new Orchard Management Plan is being developed for Yosemite to determine the fate of Yosemite’s apple trees, which are dying due to old age. These apple trees have been a concern within Yosemite for decades because their fruit attracts bears and other wildlife into visitor recreation areas, causing undesirable wildlife-human interactions. Herein, 361 of Yosemite’s apple trees were genotyped to determine cultivar identities. The cultivar names of 117 apple trees were identified and an additional 92 trees were determined to be likely cultivars because they matched genotypes in a reference set. A total of 152 trees had unique genotypes that did not match reference datasets. This information, along with other considerations including the elimination of human-wild life conflict, cost, and visitor access will contribute to the development of a new Orchard Management Plan for Yosemite.