Submitted to: National Association of Plant Breeders
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/17/2020
Publication Date: 8/17/2020
Citation: Byrne, P., Volk, G.M., Bretting, P.K. 2020. New learning materials for plant genetic resources conservation and use. National Association of Plant Breeders.
Interpretive Summary: N/A
Technical Abstract: The availability of a diverse array of genetic resources and associated information is crucial for future crop improvement. Genebanks, including the USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm System, acquire, maintain, distribute, characterize, and document germplasm of crops and their wild relatives. Given an unprecedented wave of retirements expected among genebank staff and the breeders who use genetic resources, there is a need for enhanced training in the multiple skills required to conserve and utilize genetic resources. A team of USDA-ARS and university scientists has now begun to develop learning resources (including infographics, videos, ebook chapters, and online courses) for this purpose. Two infographics (on plant genebank operations and the use of genetic resources in breeding) were funded by NAPB and the Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee, and will be unveiled at this meeting. Other products include eBooks on crop wild relatives (https://colostate.pressbooks.pub/cropwildrelatives/), plant cryopreservation (https://colostate.pressbooks.pub/clonalcryopreservation/), and a field tour of the National Plant Germplasm Clonal Repository in Davis, CA (https://colostate.pressbooks.pub/davisrepositoryfieldtour/). A new Higher Education Challenge Grant from USDA-NIFA will fund development of additional learning materials and their dissemination to a global audience. It is our hope that the educational resources developed in this initiative will be widely used both in university courses and informal education venues, thereby enhancing understanding of the role of crop genetic diversity in ensuring global food security.