USDA releases comprehensive plan for plant germplasm management and enhancement
USDA releases comprehensive plan for plant germplasm ... News-Medical.Net
The National Strategic Germplasm and Cultivar Collection Assessment and Utilization Plan
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released the National Strategic Germplasm and Cultivar Collection Assessment and Utilization Plan to support the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) U.S. National Plant Germplasm System’s (NPGS) mission.
The Importance of the NPGS Collection
The USDA-ARS NPGS plays a crucial role in maintaining the nation’s food supply by providing breeders and researchers with the germplasm they need to produce abundant, safe, and affordable agricultural products. The NPGS consists of 22 genebanks operated by USDA-ARS, often in partnership with land-grant universities. These genebanks evaluate, characterize, and preserve unique germplasm collections, including seeds, tissues, tubers, and buds. The genetic diversity found in these collections is essential for developing pest-resistant and environmentally-resilient crops in response to emerging diseases and pests, changing climates, and market demands.
Current Status and Distribution
The genebanks currently maintain over 617,000 unique kinds of plant germplasm from more than 100 different crops. Each year, they distribute over 200,000 samples of germplasm for research, education, and breeding purposes. NPGS scientists also conduct research to improve germplasm maintenance and enhancement methods. All information and data associated with these materials are accessible through the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN)-Global.
The plan, as directed by Congress in the 2018 Farm Bill, provides an overview of the current status, strengths, weaknesses, and operational capacities of the NPGS. It identifies operational backlogs, inadequate plant germplasm management capacities, and other crucial operational and research needs that threaten the availability of germplasm for crop improvement.
Strategies for Meeting Challenges
This comprehensive 10-year plan includes strategies for addressing the challenges identified in the NPGS. These strategies are based on data-driven assessments and recommendations from NPGS scientists and leadership, with guidance from the National Genetic Resources Advisory Council. The successful implementation of these strategies will result in:
- Maintenance of disease-free and securely backed up plant germplasm available for research and breeding.
- Enhancement of knowledge regarding the genetic variation and high-value traits in the germplasm.
- Acquisition, conservation, and development of new plant germplasm with valuable traits.
Access to the Plan
The plan is publicly accessible at the following links:
Funding and Support
The NPGS is primarily funded through appropriations to the USDA-ARS from the U.S. Congress. It also receives valuable support from state land-grant universities and various agricultural stakeholders.
SDGs, Targets, and Indicators Analysis
1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?
- SDG 2: Zero Hunger – The article discusses the importance of maintaining the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) to ensure the nation’s food supply and provide abundant, safe, and affordable agricultural products.
- SDG 15: Life on Land – The article emphasizes the role of NPGS in preserving unique germplasm collections, which contribute to biodiversity and the development of pest-resistant and environmentally-resilient crops.
2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?
- SDG 2.5: By 2020, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants, and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at the national, regional, and international levels.
- SDG 15.6: Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources.
3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?
Yes, the following indicators can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets:
- Number of disease-free plant germplasm maintained and securely backed up.
- Knowledge enhancement of intrinsic genetic variation and high-value traits in plant germplasm.
- Number of new plant germplasm acquired, conserved, and developed with valuable traits.
Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators
|SDG 2: Zero Hunger||2.5: By 2020, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants, and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at the national, regional, and international levels.||
|SDG 15: Life on Land||15.6: Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources.||
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