Minutes of the Leafy Vegetable Crop Germplasm Committee
August 11, 2002 : Toronto, Canada

List of Attendees: Mark Bohning, Scott Cameron, Rebecca Grube, Barbara Hellier, Maria Jenderek, Beiquan Mou, Larry Robertson, Ed Ryder, Allan Stoner, Mark Widrlechner, Erik Wilkins

Ed Ryder called the meeting to order and introduced members and guests. The minutes of the 2001 Leafy Vegetable CGC meeting were approved unanimously.

Crop Reports:

  1. Larry Robertson presented an update on the activities of the Plant Genetic Resources Unit in Geneva, NY. The Apium collection consists of 211 accessions. Twenty accessions are currently being regenerated and additional accessions will be regenerated in 2003. Twenty-six accessions were distributed in 2002, all to U.S. scientists. Sixty-five accessions currently are maintained at the National Seed Storage Laboratory and these will be reviewed to determine whether they should be incorporated into the Geneva active collection.
  2. Ed Ryder distributed reports on the Spinacia and Cichorium collections maintained at the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station in Ames, IA. Thirty-five spinach accessions were increased in Salinas, CA in 2001 as part of a cooperative effort between USDA-ARS Salinas and Sakata seed. These regenerations will be continued in 2002 and 2003. Seven accessions of S. tetrandra collected in the Republic of Georgia were added to the collection in 2001. Additional collections for wild Spinacia are still needed. Over 1700 seed packets were distributed in 2001. The staff is also working on improved methods for cleaning Cichorium seed. Over 200 seed packets of chicory were distributed in 2001.
  3. Barbara Hellier reported on the current status of the Lactuca collection maintained at the Western Regional Plant Introduction Station in Pullman, WA. The collection currently consists of 1,690 accessions representing 22 species. A total of 71 accessions were increased in 2001-2002. There is still a backlog of the wild species in need of regeneration. After 2003, more time and greenhouse space will be focused on the regeneration of this material.
  4. Ed Ryder reported on the current efforts at the USDA-ARS Agricultural Research Station in Salinas, CA. The cultivar collection currently consists of approximately 2000 accessions and since August 2001 they have distributed over 300 cultivars and genetic stocks. The PI collection is currently being evaluated for resistance to Big Vein and Lettuce Mosaic. Several accessions have shown good resistance to Big Vein but none better than the current cultivars. Lactuca virosa shows high resistance. Ten accessions showed resistance to Lettuce Mosaic and one of those accessions may have better resistance than the current cultivars. Other traits that have been evaluated include sclerotinia, verticillium wilt, crown rot, die back and aphids. A discussion then ensued on the data from those evaluations and the need to enter that data into the GRIN database.

A copy of the CGC report on the status of Leafy Vegetable germplasm was distributed to the committee. The report will be reviewed, updated and then forwarded to the appropriate individuals in the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS).

Becky Grube presented a report on the CGC Chair biennial meeting held in Beltsville, MD June 2002. Topics discussed included an overview of the NPGS collections, interaction between the CGCs and curators, molecular characterization of the collections, quarantine and invasive species, international issues and plant exchange and exploration.

A discussion was held on germplasm evaluations for leafy vegetables. A project for the molecular characterization of spinach germplasm and development of markers linked to resistance of Downy Mildew Race 6 by T. Morelock and J. Correll was funded in 2001. A proposal by Ryder and Subbarao for the development of a greenhouse procedure to evaluate lettuce germplasm for verticillium wilt resistance was submitted for funding consideration in 2002. A request for evaluation proposals for 2003 will be distributed to interested parties. Those proposals need to be submitted to the National Program Staff by November 15.

A discussion was then held on the development of a plan to assess the genetic diversity of the U.S. and other lettuce germplasm collections. It was agreed that it will be a daunting task and that Richard Michelmore’s involvement in the molecular analysis would be critical. Ed Ryder indicated that since most of the lettuce research in the U.S. is being conducted in California, the Salinas group would take the lead in attempting to develop a plan. A comment was made about the phenotypic variability that exists in many of the PI accessions. A discussion ensued on different philosophies over whether PIs should reflect the original diversity present in the original accession or whether selections should be made to develop pure lines.

Ed Ryder discussed upcoming leafy vegetable research conferences. A EUCARPIA leafy vegetable meeting will be held in the Netherlands, March 19-21, 2003. Plans for the next International Leafy Vegetable Conference are currently on hold, but it will probably be held in Vancouver, Canada in 2004. The National Spinach Conference will be held during the summer of 2003 in the Salinas/Monterey California area.

Ed Ryder indicated that he plans to retire from ARS on Jan 3, 2003, but will continue to work as a collaborator. Becky Grube was elected as the new Chair of the CGC. It was agreed that the next meeting of the committee would be held during the 2003 ASHS annual meeting in Rhode Island.