S_OLD9: Plant Genetic Resources Conservation and Utilization

(Multistate Research Project)

Status: Draft

S_OLD9: Plant Genetic Resources Conservation and Utilization

Duration: 10/01/2013 to 09/30/2018

Administrative Advisor(s):

NIFA Reps:

Statement of Issues and Justification

Project's Primary Website is at (www.ars-grin.gov/ars/SoAtlantic/Griffin/pgrcu/s9.html) (direct link can be found under LINKS)

Statement of Issues and Justification:
A. Need as indicated by stakeholders:
Plant genetic resources acquired throughout the world and conserved at the Griffin, Georgia location are crucial components of agricultural production systems that sustain humanity. This project is part of a comprehensive nationwide program, the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS), to preserve plant genetic resources for present and future researchers, educators, and commercial producers. This project addresses the national priority of Global Food Security and several Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (SAAESD) priority areas including 1D. Value-added plant and animal genes in conventional breeding and molecular biology; 1E. New plant and animal species for agricultural production; 3A. Nutritional quality of plant and animal food products; and 4B. Natural resource and ecosystem management.

B. Importance and extent of problem: Few crops (sunflower, nuts, and berries) of commercial importance are indigenous to the U.S. The food security of the U.S. is based on non-indigenous crops imported years ago. Genetic resources of these crops and crop wild relatives are often no longer available from their source location. Plant genetic resources must be preserved for both current and future research use to ensure proper homeland security of American food and fiber.

C. Technical feasibility:
Excellent cold storage facilities are available for proper conservation, and experienced personnel are available to conduct the mission of acquiring, characterizing, conserving, evaluating, documenting, and distributing genetic resources of agronomic and horticultural crops of interest to the Southern U.S.

D. Advantages of multistate effort:
Crop collections important to the Southern Region have been supported since 1949 through a joint partnership, designated as the Multistate Research Project S-009, between the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and the Southern State Agricultural Experiment Stations (SSAES). For years, S-009 has served as a major repository within the NPGS. Its activities have markedly improved crop technology in the U.S. and abroad, through acquisition, conservation, characterization, and distribution of plant genetic resources and associated information for use in scientific research, education, and crop improvement programs in the U.S.

E. Benefits or impact of research:
The potential benefits expected from attaining the objectives include plant genetic resources that are well preserved, more secure, and better able to serve as critical sources of genes for research and crop improvement for vulnerable or threatened sorghum, peanut, chili pepper, watermelon, okra, sweetpotato, tropical/subtropical legume, warm-season grass, annual clover, Vigna spp., industrial crop, and other crop and crop wild relatives. Genetic characterization and phenotypic evaluation information for priority genetic and agronomic traits will enable users to more efficiently select accessions for research and breeding. Progress in crop genetic improvement projects in the Southern Region, the U.S., and throughout the world for these crops and crop wild relatives will be accelerated by the information and availability of genetic resources furnished by this project. Sources of genes for diversifying the genetic background of the preceding crops and wild relatives will be more readily accessible; thereby, contributing to the genetic base, stability, and sustainability of U.S. agricultural production systems.

F. Stakeholders:
The stakeholders, customers, and consumers for this project include researchers, educators, and commercial producers worldwide who request and utilize these plant genetic resources and associated information for their programs. Many stakeholders and customers are directly involved with this project through the S-009 technical committee or through ten crop specific Crop Germplasm Committees (CGC) that meet annually to discuss plant genetic resource acquisition, conservation, management, and distribution of the crops curated within this project. Information is provided for users to select the optimal genetic resources for their research or education needs. The users of plant genetic resources and associated information range from home school educators to university graduate and postdoc programs; from large multinational companies to local seed companies; and from organic production to high yield production; and from basic and applied genetic research to theoretical genomic research.

Related, Current and Previous Work

Related, Current, and Previous Work:
S-009 was established in 1949 to enable federal and state cooperators to participate in coordinated efforts to acquire, regenerate, maintain, characterize, evaluate, document, distribute, and utilize plant genetic resources of value to agriculture. Plant genetic resources are the building blocks of genetic variability upon which scientists conduct research and develop improved cultivars and products. S-009 germplasm has been utilized in research resulting in hundreds of publications and numerous crop cultivars. These materials were obtained from over 180 countries in the last 110 years. This project has grown from 811 accessions of 41 genera in 1949 to one of the largest collection of the four NPGS regional multistate projects with 91,930 accessions of 260 genera and 1,553 species in 2013. Over 88% of S-009 accessions are available for distribution and over 97% are safely backed up at Ft. Collins, CO (Appendix 1). Intervals between seed regenerations are maximized to reduce loss of valuable genetic variability by storing 75% of the accessions in -18C rather than 4C (Appendix 2). Over 1,000 requesters each year use these genetic resources in plant breeding, plant pathology, entomology, molecular biology, genomics, archaeology, anthropology, crop management, ecology, medical, and alternative uses. This project has had numerous impacts on research progress, agricultural productivity, and public benefits. For example, a peanut accession (PI 203396) collected in 1952 from a Porto Alegre, Brazil, market has resistance to a major peanut disease, tomato spotted wilt virus. Resistance from this single accession has been bred into 24 peanut cultivars including the five cultivars currently dominating the Southeastern U.S. peanut acreage for an estimated economic return of $200 million per year. In 2012 alone, graduate students and postdocs in university programs worldwide (AL, GA, NC, ND, OK, IL, OH, WI, WV, Canada, China, Indonesia, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, and Turkey) utilized S-009 genetic resources and associated information in their university research programs. The new project will continue to provide plant genetic resources and information to scientists for research, education, and extension programs in the region, the nation, and the world.

The conservation of plant genetic resources is essential to safely preserve and have available for research the genetic diversity vital for global food security. Plant genetic diversity provides breeders the material to develop and select cultivars for increased production, improved quality, and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. Global food security depends on the extent to which genetic improvement of crops can meet the challenges of population increases, climate change, sustainability, increasing crop production, and reduced environmental resources (Ronald, 2011; Upadhyaya et al., 2011; Pautasso, 2012). The Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit (PGRCU)/S-009 Multistate Project at Griffin is one of 21 seed and clonal germplasm repositories in the NPGS. The National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation stores reserve seed of accessions for the other repositories. The NPGS repositories, as well as germplasm repositories in other countries and international centers, have long preserved plant genetic resources for use by present and future researchers throughout the world (Fowler and Hodgkin, 2004). Presently, the NPGS preserves almost 550,000 accessions (USDA, ARS, NGRP, 2013). Plant genetic resource collections worldwide consist of a wide range of material with no selection or different levels of selection or development. These collections may include crop wild relatives (CWR), primitive landraces, farmer selections, breeding lines, heirloom varieties, pure lines, germplasm, genetic stocks, and current cultivars. The goal of germplasm collections is to preserve the genetic diversity found in all species (Nelson, 2011). The S-009 Multistate project strives to conserve the range of genetic variation and diversity located within each plant species maintained at this location.

This project is one of four regionally-based multistate projects, cooperating with USDA, ARS Units at each location, charged with the acquisition, characterization, maintenance, evaluation, documentation, and distribution of agronomic and horticultural crops in the U.S. Crops are divided among the four projects to prevent duplication of effort. These projects include NE-009 at Geneva, NY; NC-007 at Ames, IA; and W-006 at Pullman, WA. Techniques and procedures for plant genetic resource conservation and collection backup are coordinated with ARS projects at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation, Ft. Collins, CO. Acquisition of new accessions and documentation efforts are coordinated with ARS projects at Beltsville, MD. Regeneration of sorghum and other photoperiod-sensitive crops is cooperative with ARS projects at Mayagüez, PR.


  1. Acquire and conserve genetic resources of crops and related wild species of importance to the Southern Region such as sorghum, peanut, watermelon, chili peppers, warm-season grasses, cowpea, clover, tropical/subtropical legumes, and others.
  2. Conduct genetic characterizations and phenotypic evaluations of the conserved crops and related wild species for commercially important genetic and agronomic traits.
  3. Incorporate characterization and evaluation information into the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) or other public databases.
  4. Distribute genetic resources and associated information to researchers, educators, and plant breeders in the Southern Region and worldwide.


Objective 1. Customers and users of the germplasm collection are continually in need of new sources of genetic variation to incorporate into research and breeding programs. Curators will acquire germplasm through domestic plant collection trips, germplasm exchanges, donations, retirements or elimination of existing breeding programs, or purchase. All genetic resources considered for acquisition will be evaluated for duplication, redundancy, and usefulness in improving the genetic diversity of the U.S. collection, often in consultation with S-009 and CGC scientists. Collection trips will focus on obtaining crop wild relatives (CWR) not currently represented in the genebank (USDA, ARS, NGRP, 2013), material from specific geographic areas, and material possessing unique characteristics of agricultural significance. Plant exploration trip proposals will be developed and submitted to the Plant Exchange Office (PEO) for competitive funding. Travel associated with germplasm acquisition may depend on the availability of competitive funding through the PEO or other means. Some plant collection trips for species located near Griffin will be conducted using existing funding. Plant collection trips are planned to obtain native warm-season grasses, native nightshade, and native legumes. Passport data including GPS coordinates, accompanying plant species, and location elevation will be recorded for each collection site and entered into GRIN-Global. For open pollinated crops, sampling sites will be selected that are at a minimum of five miles from another sampling site. Sites will have a minimum of five plants. Approximately 10% of the plants from sites with large plant numbers and up to 100% of the plants from sites with few plants will be sampled. Plants will be randomly chosen for sampling from throughout the population. An equal number of seed heads from each plant will be harvested when possible. Opportunities for acquisition of plant genetic resources through exchanges, donations, retirements, or breeding program elimination change from year to year and are difficult to anticipate. Curators, S-009 scientists, and crop specific CGCs remain vigilant for situations where useful accessions may be obtained through these methods. The plant genetic resources collection at the Griffin location consists of over 91,000 accessions with 98.4% maintained as seeds and 1.6% maintained as clones. Seed of each accession maintained in the collection will be preserved in appropriate cold storage to maximize long-term seed viability and reduce the frequency of regeneration. Original seed and seed of species rarely requested will be maintained solely at -18 C. All other accessions will be maintained as split samples in 4 and -18 C. The bulk of the seed from each accession will be maintained at -18 C, while a small distribution sample to handle expected requests for several years will be maintained at 4 C. When the sample at 4 C is depleted by distributions, seed will be moved from the -18 C sample to replenish the distribution sample. Currently, 19% of the accessions are maintained solely at -18 C and almost 75% of accessions in the total collection have at least one inventory (i.e. regeneration sample) in -18 C. Samples will continue to be split for newly regenerated and acquired accessions. Construction of a new 4 C cold room has been completed which will enable an existing 4 C cold room to be converted to -18 C. This will result in a total of 1,355 sq. ft. of 4 C cold storage space and 1,897 sq. ft. of -18 C freezer storage space at the Griffin location. Adequate space will then be available to maintain bulk seed of the entire collection in -18 C. These cold rooms will handle future expansion of an additional 18,900 samples in 4 C and 21,760 samples in -18 C depending on sample seed size. Regeneration plans for PGRCU have recently been updated to determine efforts needed to maintain viable seed of accessions for users (PGRCU, 2011). The number of regenerations conducted each year is dependent upon resources, and regeneration numbers are estimated at a minimum based on current funding levels. Seed regenerations for most crops will be conducted with 50 or 100 plants per accession for self-pollinated and cross-pollinated species, respectively. At least 1,850 seed-producing accessions will be regenerated each year locally or with cooperators at remote locations. Crops regenerated in the greenhouse or in fields at Griffin or Byron, GA, will include at least 50 warm-season grasses, 50 cowpea, 75-120 tropical and sub-tropical legumes, neutraceutical, and medicinal species, 100 annual clover, and 75 vegetable (chili pepper, watermelon, and other vegetables) accessions per year. At least 350 peanut accessions per year will be regenerated with the help of cooperators at Citra, FL, and/or other locations, where tomato spotted wilt virus will not impact peanut growth or seed yield. Additional peanut accessions may be grown at other locations with the assistance of cooperators. Each year, cowpea, legume, pearl millet, sorghum, and vegetable accessions will be regenerated in St. Croix, or Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, and vegetable accessions will be regenerated in Parlier, CA. Accessions will be selected for regeneration based on low seed viability, low seed numbers, original seed only, age of seed, and demand by the user community. Self-pollinating species will be either directly seeded in the field or started in the greenhouse and transplanted in the field. Species that are photoperiod- and frost-sensitive (i.e. flower in the winter when temperatures are too cold in Georgia for seed production) will be grown in a greenhouse for seed regeneration. Cross-pollinated species will be started in the greenhouse and transplanted in the field. Insect-pollinated species will be regenerated in screened cages with honey bees. If outcrossing is limited or unknown in a primarily self-pollinated species, accessions will be regenerated in the greenhouse, spatially isolated in the field, or separated using buffer crops to minimize outcrossing. Wind pollinated species, such as warm-season grass accessions, will be isolated by a distance of at least 25 meters from neighboring accessions of the same species to minimize outcrossing (Johnson et al., 1996). Switchgrass accessions will be regenerated on land at the Ernst Seed Company in Live Oak, FL, in collaboration with Calvin Ernst and at the USDA, ARS facilities in Madison, WI, in collaboration with Mike Casler. Additional methods for Objective 1 are listed in Appendix 2. Objective 2. Most methods employed for chemical composition analysis have been adopted or developed in the lab. These methods can be generally classified into two types: destructive and non-destructive. The non-destructive method is more suitable for preservation of genetic resources because the seeds can be returned to seed storage and regenerated for seed increase after analysis. Currently, oil and total crude protein content in seeds can be quantified by a non-destructive method using NMR (Horn et al., 2011). The other chemical compounds of interest require pulverization to extract the compounds followed by quantification relative to a standard curve using an appropriate instrument. Curators, S-009 scientists, and crop-specific CGCs have identified valuable biochemical traits such as oil, protein, oleic acid, flavonoids, resveratrol in legumes, sugars in sorghum stems and pepper fruits, tannins in sorghum seeds, and cucurbitacins in cucurbits (Cucurbita moschata and C. argyrosperma) as critical chemical composition traits for phenotypic evaluation. Oil and protein content measurements will be performed on a Mini-spec mq10 NMR analyzer (Bruker Optics Inc., Houston, TX). Fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) will be prepared from seeds by alkaline transmethylation (Liu, 1994). Fatty acid composition will be determined using an Agilent 7890A GC equipped with a flame ionization detector (FID) and an autosampler (Wang, M., et al., 2009). Antioxidant activities will be measured using the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) method. The ORAC-FL assay (Dávalos et al, 2003) will be carried out on a FLUOstar OPTIMA plate reader (BMG Lab Technologies, Durham, NC) equipped with an incubator at 37 C and two injection pumps. Fluorescence filters will be set with an excitation wavelength of 485 nm and emission wavelength of 520 nm. Sugars in stem or fruit juices will be measured using a 7.8 X 300 mm resin-based Aminex HPX-87P column (Bio-RAD) on an Agilent 1100 HPLC. Resveratrol and flavonoids will be quantified using an Agilent 1100 series RP-HPLC system with a C18 column and a diode-array detector (DAD) at absorbance of 310 nm and 370 nm, respectively (Wang and Pittman, 2008). Cucurbitacins will be quantified on an Agilent 1100 series RP-HPLC system using a Bio-Sil C18 HL 90-5S column (Bio-Rad, CA) with a diode array detector at 440 at 229 nm absorbance (Attard, 2002). Identification of specific compounds occurs by evaluation of the peak retention time and absorption-spectrum profile in comparison to known standards. Additionally, compounds of interest will be quantified against a calibration curve of known standards at five specific measured concentrations. Unidentified compounds of potential interest will also be isolated, separated by chromatography, and collected for further characterization by LC-MS, GC-MS or NMR in collaboration with University of Georgia Griffin cooperators. The methods for sample collections are crop specific and depend on the types of plant tissues used. Seeds analyzed for oil and protein content, as well as, fatty acid composition will originate from seeds stored at PGRCU or from collaborators at other locations. Three replicates will be collected for oil content and two replicates for fatty acid composition studies. Cultivated peanut seeds consisting of over 8,100 accessions will be used for oil content and fatty acid composition analysis. Peanut seed oil content will be measured using an NMR consisting of a 40 ml glass tube filled with 15-16 g of peanut seeds. Fatty acid composition from 50 mg seed tissue after methyl esterification will be determined by using GC analysis (Wang et al., 2011). Seed size, shape, and color will be scanned on an HP ScanJet 8200, recorded and subsequently uploaded to GRIN-Global. Seed weight from 100 seeds will also be measured and recorded. Since seeds for the wild peanut species are preserved within pods to help maintain viability, fresh wild peanut seeds will be requested from H.T. Stalker, North Carolina State University, for analysis. Depending on seed availability, 100 to 200 seed-bearing wild peanut accessions will be measured for oil content and fatty acid composition. Seeds from 1,232 sesame and eight Neonotonia wightii accessions will be evaluated for oil content and fatty acid composition. Original seeds from the 27 Desmodium and the 14 Teramnus accessions will be evaluated for oil content and fatty acid composition using the NMR and GC. Flavonoid (quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin) content will also be quantified on an HPLC (Wang et al., 2011) for the Desmodium and Teramnus accessions. Total crude protein (Horn et al., 2011) will be determined from 400 cowpeas randomly selected from the cowpea core collection and 200 mung beans randomly selected from the mung bean core collection. Seed protein content will be measured by a non-destructive method (Horn et al., 2011) using a mq10 NMR Analyzer with CRELAX software. Eight peanut accessions (four of each containing a high or low amount of resveratrol) from the peanut mini-core collection will be ground using a coffee grinder and re-quantified for resveratrol amounts using an HPLC plus antioxidant activities by ORAC-FL assay (Dávalos et al., 2003). Fresh and fully mature fruits from 300 Capsicum accessions will be analyzed on an HPLC for sugars, organic acids, and other biochemical traits. Fresh stems from 25 sweet sorghum accessions, which had been previously clustered genetically, will be collected from plants grown in a screen house and analyzed using an HPLC for soluble sugar content (Kelebek et al., 2009). Fresh fruit flesh will be collected from 20 Cucurbita accessions and dried in an oven at 40 C for 24 hours for quantification of cucurbitacin E (CuE) on an HPLC (Attard, 2002). All chemical composition data on accessions will be entered into GRIN-Global. Curators will observe and collect phenotypic data using descriptors for each of the accessions/crops grown for regeneration or evaluation. Each crop has specific descriptors and generally a standard set of descriptors will be taken during all seed regenerations. Phenotypic data and/or digital images will be obtained from at least 1,850 accessions per year of peanut, vegetable, tropical/subtropical legumes, cowpea, annual clover, warm-season grasses, and other crops grown in Griffin, Byron, or other locations where seed regeneration is being conducted. Descriptor data will be recorded from tropical and subtropical legumes, cowpea, Ipomoea spp., sorghum, and pearl millet by cooperators in Puerto Rico or St. Croix. Data taken on all regenerated crops will include traits related to morphology, phenology, production, and growth. Additional descriptors on classification, local adaptability, and other traits of agricultural importance will be recorded as opportunity permits. Barcodes on plot labels, pot labels, and plant materials will be used where appropriate to prevent identification errors in the field and greenhouse. Characterizations will be recorded either manually or by using hand-held computers and personal data assistants, with new equipment/technology being utilized as time and resources permit. Additional methods for Objective 2 are listed in Appendix 2. Objective 3. Associated information for NPGS plant germplasm is documented and maintained in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN-Global) database. The information on GRIN-Global is publicly available with over 1.5 million web page inquiries in 2012 and has greatly benefited end-users such as plant breeders, curators, scientists, and educators. However, the information available is sometimes limited within a particular species for morphological, biochemical, molecular, or agronomic descriptors. To overcome these limitations and fill gaps for associated information in the PGRCU collection, missing data on plant descriptors, agronomic traits, biochemical traits, and genetic characterizations need to be generated, evaluated, and entered into GRIN-Global (Volk and Richards, 2008). Phenotypic crop descriptors are routinely utilized on GRIN-Global to provide first-hand information on plant germplasm accessions. Individual descriptors have been documented in numerous international publications (for example, IPGRI, 1996). The Griffin staff utilizes descriptors developed or modified from International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR) descriptor lists, developed by specific CGCs, or developed by crop curators and collection staff. These descriptors are oftentimes taken on accessions during seed regeneration. Descriptors vary for each crop but often include traits related to morphology (such as leaf size, seed size, fruit shape, midrib or seed-coat color), phenology (maturity, dormancy), production (seed yield, foliage yield), and growth (plant height, plant habit, seed shattering). Each year, accessions regenerated have a limited number of standard descriptors, specific to each crop, recorded and entered into GRIN-Global. The percentage of the accessions that have descriptor data varies greatly from crop to crop, and most descriptor data are collected from one environment without replication. Crops such as sesame, bamboo, and peanut have some standard phenotypic descriptor data on most accessions, while Vigna spp., okra, sweetpotato, annual clover, and pearl millet have descriptor data on less than half of the accessions. Other major crops (sorghum, pepper, watermelon, legumes, and warm-season grasses) are intermediate to these. Disease reaction or resistance data are available in GRIN-Global on a subset of accessions for many species and different diseases, but rarely is resistance data for a particular disease available for an entire crop collection. A new descriptor (brix) and other descriptors related to fruit quality attributes, if required, will be added to the Capsicum descriptor list. Ploidy level will be added as a new warm-season grass descriptor on GRIN-Global. Initial efforts for obtaining ploidy level data will focus on biofuel grass species including switchgrass. Digital imaging provides a means to visualize multiple plant, fruit or specific seed characteristics at one time. In vegetable or legume crop germplasm, characteristics such as fruit, seed shape, size, and color are often important in assessing the potential value of accessions. Currently, 20% of the accessions in the PGRCU collection have at least one digital image on GRIN-Global, with most images taken of sorghum, cowpea, watermelon, pepper, and warm-season grass accessions. Digital images of Vigna spp., sorghum, peanut, chili pepper, and other crops will be taken and incorporated into GRIN-Global. These images will be crop specific, focusing on flowers at anthesis, whole plant architecture, immature or mature seeds, and immature or mature fruits. Descriptors and digital images need to be recorded from more accessions and added to GRIN-Global to fill the missing data gaps for all crops. Data in the GRIN-Global database will be corrected as recognized, including errors or omissions in taxonomic identification based on information acquired during the processes of regeneration and evaluation, from published research and via communications from crop requestors, experts, or collaborators. Additional methods for Objective 3 are listed in Appendix 2. Objective 4. Germplasm collections are most effectively utilized and supported when the research and educational communities are informed and aware of these genetic resources for their traditional and non-traditional uses. GRIN-Global will be the most effective way for users to identify and request specific accessions best suited for their use. Additional details on publicity of the plant genetic resources collection at Griffin are reported in the Outreach Plan of this project. Unit scientists, S-009 committee members, and CGC members will continue to make presentations at regional and national meetings as well as local or regional events to better publicize these valuable genetic resources. A Unit Customer Service Committee has been established to help publicize the collection. Tours will be given to various groups during each year and an initial field day on the Griffin plant genetic resource collection is planned for summer 2013. Depending on the response from the initial event, this field day may be conducted annually or biennially to both publicize and gain support for the collection from different user groups as well as the general public. Plant genetic resources (seeds, in-vitro cultures, plants, cuttings, corms, and rhizomes) and associated information will be sent to users worldwide in response to requests received by email, internet, phone, and U.S. mail. These requests vary from year to year with distributions ranging from 17,000 to 51,000 during the last 10 years (Appendix 1, Table 3). All seed orders are processed by the seed storage staff (three personnel). Domestic seed orders average 4 to 6 weeks from time of order receipt to shipment, while foreign seed orders average 8 to 12 weeks from receipt of order to shipment. Order-to-shipment time varies greatly from season to season and year to year depending on the number and size of seed requests. A new envelope printer has improved speed and efficiency of seed order handling. Average time to process clonal requests is species dependent varying greatly between sweetpotato in tissue culture, warm-season grasses and wild peanuts in the greenhouse, and field-grown bamboo. Requests are forwarded by the seed storage staff to crop curators for determination of availability status, evaluation of research or educational use, and approval or disapproval of the submitted request. Plant genetic resources are currently distributed only to bona fide researchers or educators. Additional correspondence with the user will be conducted as needed to clarify the research or educational use for the requested germplasm. When the request is approved by the curator, seed storage staff prints envelopes and packages seed for shipment. A standard seed quantity is shipped based on the crop, seed availability, difficulty in regeneration, and research or educational need. Prior to shipment of foreign requests, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, U.S. Treasury Department is consulted to ensure that shipments are not restricted to the destination country. Foreign requests are evaluated by the Plant Exchange Office (PEO) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for phytosanitary certificate or import permit requirements to ensure proper procedures are followed. Every effort is made to expedite shipments, however screening and correspondence often require additional time. Curators routinely respond to information requests by email or telephone on a wide variety of topics including pest and pathogen resistance, cultural requirements, specific horticultural or agronomic traits, quality or yield characteristics, or plant quarantine issues. Additional methods for Objective 4 are listed in Appendix 2.

Measurement of Progress and Results


  • New acquisitions will fill genetic gaps in collections and provide new sources of genetic variability for users. Regenerations will provide high quality genetic resources for use in research and education programs. Characterization and evaluation data will be added to GRIN-Global to provide users with better information to select the best accessions for their research or educational use. Requests for genetic resources will be promptly handled as resources permit and accessions will be distributed to users worldwide.

Outcomes or Projected Impacts

  • Demand for plant genetic resources has increased greatly from less than 19,000 accessions per year (1993-2002) to over 30,000 accessions per year (2003-present). The accessions will be used in numerous scientific fields from plant breeding to archaeology to genomic research and educational programs from graduate studies to home school projects. These plant genetic resources are utilized in basic research leading to new and improved scientific knowledge to benefit mankind; applied research leading to improved cultivars, germplasm, and practices utilized in agronomic and horticultural production; and educational programs leading to improved student development and future productivity of these students in their respective areas.


(0):s project is an on-going effort and in the future will continue to acquire, characterize, maintain, evaluate, document, and distribute plant genetic resources as it has for the last 63 years. Specific milestones are difficult to establish as all aspects of the project are continuous. New accessions, associated information, characterization, and evaluation data will continue to add value to this collection.

Projected Participation

View Appendix E: Participation

Outreach Plan

Plant genetic resources and associated information will continue to be readily available worldwide on the GRIN-Global website. Information on genetic resources, management procedures, characterizations, evaluations, and distributions will be published by PGRCU scientists and S-009 participants. Information on the S-009 project, including members, annual reports, and minutes, will be maintained on the S-009 website (www.ars-grin.gov/ars/SoAtlantic/Griffin/pgrcu/s9.html). All of this information will be readily accessible to all prospective users of these plant genetic resources. Unit scientists will make presentations at regional and national meetings as well as local garden clubs, master gardener groups, commodity groups, nursery personnel, library programs, and Farm-City events to better publicize these valuable genetic resources. S-009 committee and CGC members also publicize crop specific germplasm at their specific institution or company. A Unit Customer Service Committee has been established to determine more effective, proactive ways to publicize the collection. Tours will be given to federal and state legislators, university personnel, domestic and foreign scientists, agricultural producers, teachers and school classes, environmental groups, and other interested parties. An initial field day on the PGRCU plant genetic resource collection is planned for summer 2013. Depending on the response from the initial event, this field day may be conducted annually or biennially to both publicize and gain support for the collection from different user groups as well as the general public.


S-009 has officers consisting of a chair, secretary, and past chair. The secretary is elected to a one-year term and becomes chair the following year. Each year the project reports results, assesses progress, and receives guidance during the annual S-009 committee meeting held at Griffin or at other locations throughout the Southern Region.

Literature Cited

AOSA (Association of Official Seed Analysts). 2011. Rules for Testing Seeds (CD). Association of Official Seed Analysts, Ithaca, NY.

Attard, E. 2002. Rapid detection of cucurbitacins in tissues and in vitro cultures of Ecballium elaterium (L.) A. Rich. Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report. 25:71-75.

Barchi, L., Lanteri, S., Portis, E., Acquadro, A., Vale, G., Toppino, L., Rotino, G.L. 2011. Identification of SNP and SSR markers in eggplant using RAD tag sequencing. BMC Genomics 12:304-312.

Dávalos, A., Bartolome, B. Suberviola, J., Gómez-Cordovés, C. 2003. ORAC-Florescein as a model for evaluation antioxidant activity of wines. Polish Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences. 12:133-136.

Ellis, R.H., Hong, T.D., Roberts, E.H. 1985. Handbook of seed technology for genebanks - Volume II. Compendium of specific germination information and test recommendations. Handbooks for Genebanks No. 3. International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, Rome, Italy.

Fowler, C., Hodgkin, T. 2004. Plant genetic resources for food and agriculture: Assessing global availability. Annual Review of Environment and Resources. 29:143-179.

Gong L., Stift G., Kofler R., Pachner M., Lelley T. 2008. Microsatellites for the genus Cucurbita and an SSR-based genetic linkage map of Cucurbita pepo L. Theoretical Applied Genetics. 117:37-48.

Horn, P.J., Neogi, P., Tombokan, X., Ghosh, S., Campbell, B.T., Chapman, K.D. 2011. Simultaneous quantification of oil and protein in cottonseed by low-field time-domain nuclear magnetic resource. Journal of American Oil Chemistry Society. 88:1521-1529.

IPGRI (International Plant Genetic Resources Institute). 1996. Descriptors for Capsicum (Capsicum spp.). International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome, Italy. 49pp.

Johnson, R.C., Bradley, V.L. Knowles, R.P. 1996. Genetic contamination by windborne pollen in germplasm-regeneration plots of smooth bromegrass. Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter. 106:30-34.

Kelebek, H., Selli, S., Canbas, A., and Cabaroglu, T. 2009. HPLC determination of organic acids, sugars, phenolic compositions and antioxidant capacity of orange juice and orange wine made from Turkish cv. Kozan. Microchemical Journal. 91:187-192.

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