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One year extension to support the Genetic Resources Unit as a base collection and for use in vegetable research - GC0131

The Genetic Resources Unit contributes towards the UK Government commitment to international genetic resources conservation through the collection and long-term conservation of the gene pool of vegetable crops, namely Allium (onion, leek, etc), Brassica (Brussels sprout, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.), Daucus (carrot), Raphanus (radish), Lactuca (lettuce) and minor vegetables (celery, spinach, endive, cress, etc.). These collections will provide current and future research scientists with the broadest possible range of working material. Conserved accessions will be monitored for viability and regenerated when seed weight or viability fall. A database management system will store stock control and characterisation data. The GRU will continue to play an active role in the European Cooperative Programme Allium, Brassica & Umbellifer networks.
1. To maximise the longevity of genetic resources collections of the cultivated forms and wild relatives of Allium, Brassica, Daucus, Raphanus, Lactuca and minor vegetables (celery, spinach, endive, cress, etc.) in collaboration with international agencies and crop networks, by using the recommended international storage standards (IPGRI/FAO) for seed packaging, seed moisture content (5%.) and storage temperature (-200C).
2. To estimate seed viability, initially and periodically from store, using International Seed Testing Association standard germination test methods.
3. To regenerate 125 accessions of low seed weight or poor germination on a priority basis; for outbreeding taxa including Allium, Brassica, Daucus & Raphanus) using fly pollinators in insect-proof cages to effect seed production whilst maintaining population integrity.
4. To characterize 80 accessions using the minimal characterisation descriptors agreed by ECP/GR crop working groups and capture digital images of important morphological traits.
5. To maintain passport, stock and characterisation data in a database management system in association with the image database.
6. To utilize the data to assess the composition of each crop/wild collection in comparison with the known geographical distribution and localised variation of the crop and related species. To fill gaps identified in collections through active involvement in collecting expeditions and international networks.
7. To maintain duplicate security collections of horticultural crop for other gene banks under long-term storage conditions (-200C).
8. To coordinate the European Cooperative Programme Allium and Umbellifer Working Groups, to maintain, develop and distribute the European Allium database, and play an active role in the European Cooperative Programme Brassica group. To collaborate with the Centre for Genetic Resources Netherlands in the conservation of a global collection of Lactuca.
9. To maintain and distribute strategic differential test collections for use as international standards in applied and pure research, namely Brassica S-allele lines, Brassica European Clubroot Differentials & Lactuca Bremia Differentials; and maintain a duplicate collection of the HRI tomato Ailsa Craig Near-Isogenic Lines.
10. To collaborate in the long-term seed storage experiment involving a range of experimental material carried out concurrently at the GRU, University of Reading and the Seed Testing Station Wageningen, The Netherlands.

The core elements of genetic resources conservation (1 to 6 & 8) are contiguous and therefore totally interdependent upon each other. Other collaborative actions (7) depend entirely upon the basic elements of the work (1 to 5). A proportion of the core work for carrot and Brassica genetic resources is funded under the EU GenRes projects and the DEFRA Matching funds.

The efficiency of the crop networks is dependent upon the inputs from all participating countries and may be constrained by individuals. Political sensitivities and disturbances can restrict access to areas of interest for germplasm collection, but these are largely unpredictable.
Project Documents
• Final Report : One year extension to support the Genetic Resources Unit as a base collection and for use in vegetable research   (512k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2003

To: 2004

Cost: £231,706
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Horticulture Research International
Organic Farming              
Plant Genetic Resources              
Fields of Study
Plant Genetics