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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Management of Plant Genetic Resources and Associated Information

Location: Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Objective 1: Conserve, acquire, regenerate, back-up, and distribute genetic resources and associated information for cool season food and forage legumes, grasses, common beans, oilseeds, vegetables, beets, ornamentals, medicinal crops and related wild species.

Objective 2: Conduct genetic characterizations and phenotypic evaluations of genetic resources of the preceding crops and related wild species for priority genetic and agronomic traits. Apply the preceding knowledge to genetic resource acquisition, management, and marker-trait association studies of selected taxa. Sub-objective 2A: Apply existing and newly developed DNA genetic marker technology to phylogenetic and genetic diversity analyses of priority crops, emphasizing core subsets of Phaseolus, Beta, Allium, Carthamus, Pisum, Vicia, Cicer, Lens, and temperate grass species. Incorporate characterization data into the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN-Global) and/or other databases. Sub-objective 2B: Update and apply phenotypic descriptors for Allium, Beta, Lactuca, Pisum, Cicer, Phaseolus, Carthamus, and priority native and other cool season grasses. Incorporate phenotypic data into GRIN Global and/or other databases. Sub-objective 2C.1: Assess genetic (molecular) and phenotypic variation of reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea, L.) and apply that information to curating the collection. Sub-objective 2C.2: Genecology of bottlebrush squirreltail, Thurber's needlegrass, and basin wildrye. Sub-objective 2D: Develop mapping populations and genomic resources of Pisum, Lens, Cicer and Vicia, for developing markers suitable for marker assisted selection of those crops.

Objective 3: Identify pathogens causing emerging diseases associated with the preceding genetic resources, investigate interactions among these plant taxa and the pathogens, and devise and apply pathogen management strategies.

Objective 4: Conduct initial pre-breeding programs for underutilized agronomic traits, and release genetically-enhanced populations for selected crops. Sub-objective 4A: Pre-breeding Safflower for improved oil concentration and high oleic fatty acids in winter safflower. Sub-objective 4B: Incorporate genes for improved nutritional content into faba bean pre-breeding populations.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Regenerate, conserve, and distribute more than 92,000 accessions of cool season food and forage legumes, grasses, common beans, oilseeds, vegetables, beets, ornamentals, medicinal crops and related wild species, and associated information by following the established protocols and procedures. Ship high quality seed samples to National Center for Germplasm Resources Preservation at Ft. Collins, CO and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway for long-term security back-up. Conduct collaborative plant expedition and collection trips to acquire samples to fill gaps in NPGS collections, and to meet stakeholder needs. Apply existing and newly developed genomic tools and technologies to characterize phylogenetic relationship and genetic diversity of priority crop collections. Evaluate the phenotypic variation of economic traits of specialty crops independently or collaboratively. Upload characterization/evaluation data into the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN-Global) and/or other databases. Survey production fields, identify pathogens causing emerging diseases with morphological-cultural and molecular techniques, investigate interactions among these host plants and their pathogens, and devise and apply pathogen management strategies to maintain the health of the assigned genetic resources. Use both classical plant breeding methods and modern marker-assisted selection (MAS) to enhance the nutritional attributes and the resiliency to abiotic stress of safflower and faba bean. Publish research results and release improved germplasm to the user community.


3.Progress Report:
This project started in March of 2013 replacing 5348-21000-026-00D, Research, Acquisition, Management, and Documentation of Plant Genetic Resources". Progress is being made on all four objectives and their subobjectives, all of which fall under National Program 301, Plant Genetic Resources, Genomics, and Genetics Improvement. Progress on this project focuses on Problem Statement 1A: Efficiently and Effectively Manage Plant and Microbial Genetic Resources. Plant genetic resources are critical to ensure continued genetic improvement of crop productivity. All necessary work has been initiated to accomplish the first year milestones. The accessions being regenerated are growing well in the field or the greenhouses. Harvesting started late July and will last till late October and seed cleaning and packaging won’t finish till sometime in April, 2014. Our research plant pathologist identified to species by current taxonomic criteria four North American isolates, each representive of a species of Pencillium series Corymbifera (agents of bulb rot), plus bulb-rotting Penicillium species outside series Corymbifera and documented host ranges of these isolates. The results are useful in controlling root rot and reducing loss of bulb crop growers. Our research agronomist made good progress in selecting breeding lines from segregating populations to meet the needs. Several lines with desired fatty acid profiles and high oil content have been identified. Continuing this work will produce useful genetic materials for the safflower industry. Our collaboration with Chinese scientists on evaluating cool season grain legume germplasm will generate useful information for the global legume research community.


4.Accomplishments
1. Safflower is grown by small-scale farmers for its valuable edible oil. The recently released winter hardy safflower lines can substantially increase the yield of this crop, but the market demands high oil and high oleic acid traits. The ARS research agronomist at Pullman, Washington, made good progress in selecting breeding lines from segregating populations to meet the needs. Several lines with desired fatty acid profiles and high oil content have been identified. The new genetic materials are useful for the safflower industry to develop healthier product for consumers.

2. Bulb rot is an important and serious problem for onion, garlic and other bulb crops. The ARS research plant pathologist at Pullman, Washington, identified to species by current taxonomic criteria four North American isolates, each representative of a species of Pencillium series Corymbifera (agents of bulb rot), plus bulb-rotting Penicillium species outside series Corymbifera and documented host ranges of these isolates. The identification used information on disease symptoms, pathogen morphological characteristics and DNA markers. The results are useful in controlling root rot and reducing losses to bulb crop growers. The results will also help plant breeders to identify accurate resistant sources from plant germplasm collection for genetic improvement of these specialty crops.

3. Information on phenotype increases the value of accessions in a germplasm collection. ARS research scientists at Pullman, Washington, initiated a collaborative project to evaluate cool season grain legume germplasm under a non-funded collaborative agreement between US and China. During the 2012-13 winter, we evaluated 1,294 pea and 286 faba bean accessions for winter survival in Qingdao, China. The resulting data are being entered into the National Plant Germplasm System, GRIN (genetic resource information network) database. This data will enable breeders worldwide to use the evaluated accessions for crop improvement.


Review Publications
Ma, Y., Bao, S., Yang, T., Hu, J., Quan, J., He, Y., Wang, X., Wan, Y., Sun, X., Jiang, J., Gong, C., Zong, X. 2013. Genetic linkage map of Chinese native variety faba bean (Vicia faba L.) based on simple sequence repeat markers. Plant Breeding. doi.10.11/pbr.12074.

Smýkal, P., Coyne, C.J., Redden, R., Maxted, N. 2013. Pea (Pisum sp.) genetic resources, its analysis and exploration. In: Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing. London, United Kingdom: Elsevier Insights. p. 157-180.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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