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The national plant germplasm system: the subtropical and tropical fruit gene banks
- Silva, T.A., Schnell, R., Goenaga, R., Zee, F., Irish, B.
- Acta horticulturae 2013 no.975 pp. 43-54
- research and development, resource management, tropical agriculture, genes, quality control, gene banks, wild relatives, collectors, germplasm, tropical and subtropical horticulture, research programs, energy, humans, social benefit, plant genetic resources, digital images, species identification, agronomic traits, fruit crops, researchers
- The National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) is a network of 29 repositories nationwide that preserve and regenerate seed and other tissues of crop plants and their wild relatives. The system houses more than 500,000 accessions comprising over 2100 genera and more than 13,100 species. The NPGS has collections for about 85 major crops. It is one of the world’s largest collectors and distributors of germplasm. This public germplasm management system has yielded large economic benefits to public and private organizations worldwide. Plant genetic resources (PGRs) serve as the basic materials for research and development to sustain agricultural productivity. They provide useful characteristics and genes for food, feed, fiber, ornamental, and energy uses. Endangered globally by human and natural forces, their conservation is essential to the wealth and future of mankind. The NPGS research programs are dedicated to answering questions that help curators and researchers conserve and manage genetic resources in a more effective and cost-efficient manner. Characterization and evaluation information is collected by curators, staff and researchers on agronomic performance, biochemical, genetic, phenotypic traits and qualities. Digital images are captured to provide useful detail on plant, fruit and seed structures, and permanent information for reference use. Analysis of highly heritable traits supports taxonomic identification and quality assurance. Information on their adaptation, maturity, and reactions to envi-ronmental or physical stress is valuable to researchers. This paper examines PGRs held at three clonal repositories for tropical/sub-tropical fruit crops. These are the Subtropical Horticultural Research Station (SHRS) in Miami, FL, the Tropical Agriculture Research Station (TARS) in Mayaguez, PR, and the Tropical Plant Genetic Resource Management Unit (TPGRMU) in Hilo, HI.