Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Documentation and maintenance of genetic resources - GC0133

Defra Horticulture ROAME A documents highlight the central role of genetic improvement and plant breeding as an approach to developing solutions for sustainable production and meeting the needs of consumers. This follows on from a period of sustained investment in HRI Crop Improvement and related research, which has resulted in the generation of unique and strategically valuable genetic resources. The importance of safeguarding and documenting key collections has been highlighted by a Capital Grant to establish a Genomics Resource Centre in HRI. This project therefore aims to define and document key collections of plant, microbial and molecular genetic resources and, where appropriate, transfer material to archive stores. The project covers four areas. 1) Archiving materials in the HRI Wellesbourne Genomic Resource Centre 2) Documentation of fruit and nursery stock at HRI - East Malling 3) Developing information required to set up genetic foundation sets for biennial crops. 4) Documenting and safeguarding the extensive stocks of narcissus cultivars at HRI Kirton. Results will be used to support future Defra research, provide policy advice and establish web-based information sources.

Genomics Resources. To establish the genomics resource centre archive stores and for their use. This will involve:-
• Set up standard operating procedures and establish a database for archiving its genomic resources in order to ensure HRI is able to meet high Quality Assurance standards for traceability of its experimental material.
• Carry out a full inventory of GM seed located at HRI Wellesbourne, and to provide a designated area for storage, together with Standard Operating Procedures for processing, tracking and destruction of GM seed.
• Generation of sufficient high quality seed (in terms of QA, provenance, and viability) to place in long-term and secure inventoried storage as part of the establishment of the HRI Genomics Resource Centre for Sustainable Horticulture (Archive existing seed stocks for approx 2000 accessions; archive seed from 500 accessions that require regeneration for seed production).
• Prepare an inventory and stock-take of existing resources stored or requiring storage at -80C. Ensure back-up copies exist and transfer stocks from existing unsecured storage to secure storage for long-term reference (approximately 50 libraries, including EST, BAC, Cosmid and genomic libaries. In addition we estimate that approx 20 pathogen collections will be archived.)

Fruit & HNS
• To collate the lists of HRI-East Malling’s various fruit and HNS collections into a single electronic register on HRI’s intranet.
- to agree common format for recording accessions
- to convert and amend current lists to common format
- to set up intranet version and protocol for annual updates

Foundation sets. Genetic foundation stocks that represent the primary genepool will be developed as a UK resource for vegetable improvement programmes that can be accessed by private or public sector or in partnership funded by Defra. The crops mentioned are all biennials that have significant barriers to the rapid development of foundation stocks with no quick reliable ways of short circuiting the biological constraints that allow rapid generation times. The nature of these sets would depend upon the crops biology/breeding system. Therefore we propose:

• An information gathering exercise to determine the public and private research needs for a ‘core set’ of genotypes (This will be addition to existing curation information in genetic resource collections)
• A recommendation for a structured diversity foundation set after making an assessment of the variability needed in the foundation set (in some cases utilising the results of previous EU funded projects) – this could be genetic, phenotypic, molecular, biochemical or anecdotal depending on the crop.
• A plan to initiate production where need is identified

Narcissus cultivars

• Document the narcissus collections held at HRI Kirton These consist of (a) a collection of nearly 400 commercial or historic narcissus cultivars, (b) approximately 40 commercial cultivars as nuclear stocks of virus-tested mother stocks, (c) some 200 breeding lines that could be further exploited for research, and (d) about 20 ‘reference stocks’ of new cultivars previously commercialised by HRI or its predecessors. Establish this information on a web- page that will aim to form the nucleus of a compilation of narcissus collections available for researchers and breeders world-wide.
• Maintain HRI narcissus collections including verification of cultivar names and establishing systematic plantings on an accessible site under low-maintenance protocols.
• Enhance the collection through (a) the acquisition of historic cultivars of importance to plant breeders; (b) the establishment of methods for conserving Narcissus species in seed-bank form; and (c) the initiation of tests of long-term cold storage of bulbs as an alternative to maintaining living collections.
• Plan exploitation of the collection post-2003/04 through making proposals for screening and utilising traits such as pest and disease resistance and useful physiological attributes.

Project Documents
• Final Report : Documentation and maintenance of genetic resources   (293k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2003

To: 2004

Cost: £165,395
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Horticulture Research International
Hardy Nursery Stock              
Plant Genetic Resources              
Plants and Animals              
Fields of Study
Plant Genetics