Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Utilizing Old Data to Improve Germplasm Documentation: Sweet Sorghum Collection.

Gary Pederson, USDA-ARS, Plnt. Genet. Res, 1109 Experiment St., Griffin, GA 30223-1797 and Merrelyn Spinks, USDA, ARS, Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, GA 30223.

Plant breeders and geneticists often accumulate highly specialized plant germplasm collections during their career.  When there is a retirement or program redirection, these germplasm collections are often donated to sites of the National Plant Germplasm System.  Along with seed, donations also include associated information such as characterization, passport, and evaluation data for each accession maintained in files or notebooks.  With limited data entry personnel and resources available, these data often linger in boxes or file drawers for years without being incorporated into the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).  Sweet sorghum genetic resources are used for research on sweet sorghum syrup and ethanol production.  In 1983, the U.S. Sugar Crops Field Station at Meridian, MS was closed.  Over 1,200 seed samples of sweet sorghum were transported to the Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit, Griffin, GA.  Old notebooks were also transported containing passport data relating the accessions to other sorghum identifiers and containing data on brix value, sucrose content, percentage starch, and other traits taken for 1 to 6 years (during 1948 – 1978) on each sweet sorghum accession.  Recently, a concerted effort has been made at Griffin to incorporate the Meridian sweet sorghum accessions into the national sorghum collection and to enter associated data into GRIN.  Using the passport data, over 70 Plant Introductions (PIs) thought to be lost have been rediscovered among Meridian accessions.  Brix data added to GRIN enables users to select sweet sorghum accessions with high brix values to maximize syrup or ethanol production.  In the case of sweet sorghum, these old data enhanced the documentation of sorghum plant names and identifiers, and provided information on traits of interest to current users.  This effort enables current users to select the best sweet sorghum accessions for their research studies.

Handout (.pdf format, 122.0 kb)