S9: Plant Genetic Resources Conservation and Utilization

(Multistate Research Project)

Status: Active

S009: Plant Genetic Resources Conservation and Utilization

Duration: 10/01/2018 to 09/30/2023

Administrative Advisor(s):


NIFA Reps:


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
Genetic variability and germplasm are the building blocks required to successfully develop new varieties of crops necessary to meet global food and fiber needs. The narrow genetic base of many crops makes them vulnerable to abiotic and biotic changes in their environment. 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

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. 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 99,414 accessions of 263 genera and 1601 species in 2018. Over 84% of S-009 accessions are available for distribution and over 95% are safely backed up at Ft. Collins, CO (Appendix 1, Table 1). Intervals between seed regenerations are maximized to reduce loss of valuable genetic variability by storing 88% of the accessions in -18oC rather than 4oC (Appendix 1, Table 2). Requestors 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. 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 29 seed and clonal germplasm repositories in the NPGS. The National Laboratory 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 587,229 accessions (USDA, ARS, 2018). 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 Laboratory 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. Being a collaborative project, both the USDA and the S-009 Regional Project provide funding for scientific, technical and administrative staff. Both entities also provide funding for supplies related to germplasm preservation, maintenance, distribution, regeneration, and characterization. PGRCU is located on the University of Georgia-Griffin Campus and is housed in both federal and state owned buildings.

Objectives

  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-Global) or other public databases
  4. Distribute genetic resources and associated information to researchers, educators, and plant breeders in the Southern Region and worldwide

Methods

Objective 1. An effective collection of genetically diverse plant genetic resources depends on the acquisition of crops and their CWR (Khoury et al., 2010; Maxted et al., 2012). This can be accomplished by identifying geographic, taxonomic and genetic gaps in the collection. Effective acquisitions can be accomplished by plant collection trips, donated plant materials, and exchanges with other genebanks. Acquisition of important germplasm requires collaborators willing to donate or exchange materials, countries allowing acquired germplasm to be distributed without restriction, and availability of germplasm for collection. Therefore, prioritizing acquisitions must be based on the needs of the genebank as identified through gap analysis as well as the likelihood of successfully obtaining the germplasm. Gap analysis will be conducted using a similar approach as Castaneda-Alvarez et.al. (2015) where occurrence data gathered from genebank passport data, herbaria, and other sources will be used to model projected geographic distribution of a particular crop.  This projection will then be compared with current germplasm holdings and priority will be assigned to relative taxa and areas of collection.  Crops in the PGRCU collection targeted for gap analysis and subsequent acquisition include peanuts, pearl millet, finger millet, clover, legumes and their CWR.  Input from by stakeholders during CGC meetings and acquisition priorities outlined in CGC developed Crop Vulnerability Statements provide guidance for crop specific acquisition.

Unique germplasm of peanut CWRs is being maintained at North Carolina State University and Texas A&M University that is currently not in the NPGS collection. The peanut curator will work closely with these universities to facilitate donation of this germplasm and the associated passport data to the PGRCU collection. The majority of the peanut CWR genetic resources produce little seed and/or clonally maintained in the greenhouse, and thus several years will be required to successfully multiply and establish the germplasm in the PGRCU greenhouses before it is available for distribution. Approximately 3,000 tropical/sub-tropical legume accessions donated from the University of Florida (Kretschmer and Wilson, 1996) will be cleaned and processed into the collection along with associated passport data. Clover accessions donated from the University of Kentucky (known as the Norm Taylor collection) will also be cleaned and processed into the collection. There are 38 pearl millet and 702 finger millet accessions that will be acquired from the National Lab for Genetic Resources Preservation (NLGRP) in Fort Collins, CO that are currently not in the PGRCU collection. This germplasm will be increased in Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands and the remaining original seed and newly increased seed will be transferred to the PGRCU collection and made available for distribution. In addition, several hundred accessions of pearl millet CWR including Cenchrus orientalis, C. pedicellatus, C. polystachios, C. orientalis, and P. americanum subsp. monodii which were recently donated by Wayne Hanna will be cleaned and processed into the active collection.  All acquisitions will be screened against current accession passport data to ensure that a duplicate sample is not being deposited in the collection.

 

The plant genetic resources collection at the Griffin location consists of more than 99,000 accessions with 98.4% maintained as seed only and the remaining maintained clonally. Seed from each accession maintained in the collection will be preserved in cold storage to optimize long-term seed viability and reduce the frequency of regeneration. Original seed and seed of species rarely requested will be maintained solely at -18oC. All other accessions will be maintained as split samples in 4oC and -18oC. The bulk of the seed from each accession will be maintained at -18oC, while a small distribution sample to handle expected requests for several years will be maintained at 4oC. When the sample at 4oC is depleted by distributions, seed will be removed from the -18oC sample to replenish the distribution sample. Currently, 88% of accessions in the total collection have at least one inventory in -18oC. All newly acquired material will be processed into the collection using this dual inventory system.

Regeneration plans for PGRCU have been developed to determine optimum plans needed to maintain viable seed of accessions for users (PGRCU, 2011). The number of regenerations conducted each year depends on resources and current funding levels. Seed regenerations for most crops will be conducted with 50 or 100 plants/accession for self-pollinated and cross-pollinated species, respectively. Approximately 1,900 clonal and seed-producing accessions will be regenerated each year locally or with cooperators at other locations. Crops regenerated in the greenhouse or in fields at Griffin or Byron, GA, will include approximately 150 tropical and sub-tropical legumes including Vigna spp., 50 industrial crops, 50 warm season grass, 300 peanut accessions including CWRs, and 100 vegetable crop accessions per year. Additional peanut accessions may be grown at other locations with the assistance of cooperators, if necessary. Each year, 50 cowpeas, 11 photoperiod and frost-sensitive legumes (including Centrosema plumieri, Neonotonia wightii, Senna alata, and Tephrosia vogelii), ten industrial crop accessions (including five Hibiscus cannabinus and five H. sabdariffa) and two Ipomoea spp. will be regenerated in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands or Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. A total of 653 pearl millet, 700 finger millet and 1,680 sorghum accessions will also be regenerated in St. Croix over a five year period. Regeneration of 30 cowpea, 15 Vigna spp., and 20 Citrullus spp. will be conducted each year in Parlier, CA. Over 740 sweetpotato accessions will be maintained and regenerated as tissue cultures each year.

Accessions with low seed viability, low seed numbers, original seed only, and age of seed will be targeted for regeneration. Self-pollinating species will be either directly seeded in the field or planted in the greenhouse and transplanted to the field. Species that are photoperiod- and frost-sensitive (i.e. flowering during 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 planted in the greenhouse and transplanted to 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.

Additional methods for Objective 1 are listed in Appendix 2.

 

Objective 2. Curators and crop-specific CGCs have identified valuable biochemical traits such as oil/fatty acid and protein/amino acid content in oil seed crops; flavonoids and anthocyanins in legumes; flavor and resveratrol in peanuts; protein content in Vigna; protein and mineral content in pearl millet seeds; and fruit color and flavor components in pepper (Capsicum spp.) as critical chemical composition traits for chemical analysis. The approach applied for chemical analysis depends on the chemical trait of interest. Methods employed for chemical composition analysis have been adopted, modified, or developed in the lab. The chemical methods can be generally classified into two categories: destructive and non-destructive. The non-destructive method has the advantage of preserving genetic resources because the seeds can be returned to seed storage. Currently, only oil 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 using an appropriate instrument.

Extraction methods vary based on the chemical compound of interest. General protocols for phytochemical extraction and analysis will be identified (Delmonte and Rader, 2006), modified, and adapted to a species of interest. Organic solvents (acetonitrile, methanol, or ethanol), aqueous solvents (dilute acids), or an aqueous/organic mix will be used at various temperatures to extract compounds from the pulverized plant tissue. Sample extracts will be centrifuged to remove undissolved plant material. In cases of complex extraction matrices, solid-phase extraction (SPE) columns will be used to purify phytochemicals of interest by selectively removing interfering and co-eluting compounds prior to HPLC analysis (Tsao and Deng, 2004). Additionally, SPE columns with solvent evaporation will be used to concentrate the samples to increase detection ability. Certain sample extracts will be filtered (0.45 μm pore size) prior to injection to remove particles that might clog or reduce the life of the separation column. All samples will be processed twice, and each extract will be injected twice to ensure reproducibility of the extraction method, chromatographic separation, and peak retention time. Standards will be measured, diluted to specific concentrations for calibration, and injected regularly to recalibrate the standard curve and ensure accurate quantification of sample peaks. Sugars and organic acids in pepper fruit will be extracted as described by Baldwin et al. (1991) and Missio et al. (2015).

Methods for sample collection are crop specific and depend on the types of plant tissues used. For many accessions, seeds from the PGRCU collection or from collaborators at other locations will be acquired for oil and fatty acid composition. For some accessions, seeds or plant tissues may be collected from stored seed or field grown material during the same year for crude protein content, amino acid composition, and other trait analyses. The U.S. cultivated peanut germplasm collection (8,840 accessions) has been quantified for seed weight, oil content and fatty acid composition, and high oleate accessions identified. A set of 50 unique accessions, including high oleate peanut producers, will be retested to confirm the high oleate results. This set of accessions will be grown in three locations including Clovis, NM, Byron, GA, and Gainesville, FL. In a separate peanut study, seed from eighteen peanut accessions representing the six botanical varieties plus two high oleate lines (F435 and PI 342666) will be collected from the field plots. This experiment will be replicated twice and conducted at two locations for quantification of flavonoids, resveratrol, and flavor. A set of 100 pearl millet accessions will be grown in the greenhouse using a RCBD with three replicates for two years for crude protein and mineral content analysis. Seeds of 90 Vigna accessions from seed storage will be used for crude protein content analysis. Thirty cowpea accessions from the core collection will be evaluated for flavonoid and anthocyanin content using seed from cold storage. Seven field grown jute accessions in a RCBD with two replicates over two years will be analyzed for physical-mechanical properties of jute bark and core fibers. One-hundred accessions of pepper will be grown in the field per year and replicated over two years for color and flavor component analysis. Selected pepper accessions will be grown in both Griffin, GA and Charleston, SC. 

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 recorded during all seed regenerations. Phenotypic data and/or digital images will be obtained from at least 1000 accessions per year of peanut, vegetable, tropical/subtropical legumes, cowpea, annual clover, warm-season grasses, industrial, 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 Ricardo Goenaga and 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. Fieldbooks in the format of spreadsheets generated from GRIN-Global will be used to record phenotypic data. Characterizations will be recorded either manually in fieldbooks or by using hand held computers and personal data assistants, with new equipment/technology being utilized as time and resources permit.  If new descriptors are needed, the crop traits will be added using the Curator Tool Crop Dataviews in GRIN-Global. A Method will be added to describe the environment and/or procedures. Data for the crop traits will be loaded from spreadsheets to Curator Tool Crop Dataviews. Images or other documents will be added to GRIN-Global using the Accession Attachment Wizard.

 

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 approximately 48,000 web page inquiries per day in 2017 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).  Additionally, curators will seek to identify duplicate accessions within particular crops by comparison of passport data paying particular attention to secondary names such as ICRASAT numbers and cultivar names.  Identified duplicates will be kept as separate inventories but combined under a single accession to eliminate confusion.

 

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. Curators consult with CGCs to develop new descriptors and for some crops special subcommittees are formed to handle development of new descriptors and recommend a priority of which descriptors to collect.  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. 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, 23% 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. Curators routinely request that characterization data generated by users of the germplasm be shared and made available on GRIN-Global.  These requests are formally made at CGC meetings and informally at other professional meetings where the curator has the opportunity to interact with stakeholders. Curators work one on one with cooperators to have data formatted and properly documented for uploading to the GRIN-Global database.

 

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. Tours will be given to various groups during each year.

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. Although these requests vary from year to year, distributions have averaged over 30,000 per year during the last 10 years (Appendix 2, Figure 3). Requests are forwarded by PGRCU 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. Approvals of requests are made on a case by case basis using the information provided by the requestor. Plant genetic resources are only distributed to valid researchers or educators. Additional correspondence with the user will be conducted as needed to clarify the research or educational use for the requested germplasm. If a request is denied, the requestor is sent a standard email explaining how their request does not fit the criteria for research/education as outlined in our distribution policy. The requestor is advised to contact the Research Leader if they feel the request has been unfairly denied, and they wish to provide additional information that may be used to alter the decision to deny. After a­­ request is approved by the curator, seed storage staff prints envelopes and packages seed for mailing. 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 USDA/Plant Exchange Office (PEO) and the USDA/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for phytosanitary certificate or import permit requirements to ensure proper procedures are followed. Emails are sent prior to each distribution to notify requestor of shipping details, request receipt confirmation and and to request that any data generated be shared with the location. 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

Outputs

  • 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 (2007-present) (Appendix 1, Table 3). 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.

Milestones

(0):This 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 69 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. 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

Organization/Governance

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

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