Prunus CGC Meeting

July 16, 2007
8:00 – 10:00
Westin Kierland Resort, Scottsdale, AZ

David Byrne could not make it to the meeting, so Ed Stover served as acting Chair for this meeting.

In attendance for at least part of the session were: John Clark, Maria Jenderek, Gayle Volk, Nahla Bassil, Kim Hummer, Margaret Pooler (acting secretary), Daniele Bassi, Terry Bacon, David Cain, Greg Lang, Margarita Licha, David Karp, Jim McFerson, Ralph Scorza, Erick Smith, Ann Marie Thro, Alex Navas, Carlos Roman, Ed Stover (names in bold represent members of the Prunus CGC).

2006 Minutes

Minutes from the 2006 meeting were distributed via email before the meeting, and were approved at this meeting.

Election of new officers (chairperson)

Although Joe Goffreda’s name had come up as a possible chairperson, he wasn’t at the meeting and no one knew if he was willing to serve. Later discussions by the group emphasized the need to have leadership and vision to move this CGC forward, so we decided to leave the group without a chair until interested candidates (Cameron Peace, in addition to Joe) can be contacted to see if they have the time, energy, and commitment to “reinvent” the CGC. Ed Stover will contact these potential chairs and send out email communications to update the CGC on the chairperson status.

Review of Business

Every year, the ARS National Program Staff provides funding for germplasm evaluation activities to each CGC. This year there were no germplasm evaluation proposals submitted by the Prunus CGC, so we missed out on at least $10,000 of funding. One job of the new chair will be to send the RFPs to the CGC and other interested parties.

The Prunus CGC information has not been updated recently on the GRIN website. Ed will make sure that minutes, membership, and other activities are sent to GRIN for updating. The Vulnerability Report also needs to be updated. Perhaps this task can be initiated by the new chair with input from the group at our next meeting.


Note: All reports/updates will be posted on the website. The minutes reflect only the highlights or additional discussions not in the report.

Davis Repository  - (see handout to be posted on web site). Ed Stover highlighted changes in personnel, new accessions, exploration in 2006, germplasm maintenance, evaluation, and distribution. Another exploration trip to Georgia/Armenia is proposed for 2008 (note typo in report), but may be postponed due to lack of resources at APHIS to handle any new material (see discussions from APHIS update below).

Geneva report – (see handout send via email from Phil Forsline to be posted on web site). There was discussion as to the value of keeping backups of Geneva material in Davis if most items are in cryopreservation. Perhaps the resources could be better utilized. However, there was also a question whether Prunus is phenotypically stable when removed from cryo, as an increase in significant budsport development has been observed by some researchers.  Unfortunately, this question is difficult to answer without growing out hundreds of samples. Dr. Licha indicated she had just returned from a meeting where evidence was presented indicating that Prunus and pomes tend to be more susceptible to instability.

APHIS update –  (see handout to be posted on web site). Margarita Licha, who joined APHIS in 2/07 described current status and new opportunities and directions. The CGC expressed excitement at having enthusiastic leadership in this position. Although there is nothing new to report on PPV, it was mentioned that there was a recent PPV scare in program in California (no PPV detected, however). The Prunus backlog at APHIS was mentioned, and Margarita explained that APHIS is working on the backlog, but cannot sacrifice thorough testing for speed. Should we be conducting explorations/importations when APHIS can’t even handle what is already here? Sometimes, yes, since the opportunity may only be there once. However, there should always be close communication between the collector and APHIS so that the disposition of the germplasm is known before the collection trip begins. Seed samples, for example, can be stored until APHIS can get to them. Budwood would require immediate attention.

NGRL/PEO – no news

GRIN – Gayle Volk discussed exciting updates to GRIN databases including the addition of molecular data and habitat/ecology data. The goal is to find similar descriptors or world habitat descriptions so that GRIN can be inter-operable with other databases, such as GDR or Gramene. The Rosaceae genomics community is interested in universal descriptors, especially for phenotypic data, that can reach across genera in Rosaceae. A group will meet on Tuesday 7/17 at 7:00 am at the Monday Club Café in the Westin to discuss these genomics issues.

Next meeting

The Prunus CGC meeting has been held in conjunction with the ASHS meeting for at least the past decade. While this venue is convenient for scientists attending ASHS, it does not draw many of the industry representatives and breeders who have a stake in Prunus germplasm. In addition, many members of the CGC have not visited the Davis NCGR in many years.Therefore, as part of our mission to reinvigorate and reinvent the Prunus CGC, the group decided to hold the next meeting in CA. The meeting will be held in February in conjunction with the IFTA in Visalia, CA. An attempt will be made to re-instate the Prunus Breeders Conference which may also be planned to be in the week of the CGC meeting to encourage CGC attendance. The current CGC members will target all in the Rosaceae community (including growers and genomics people) to attend this meeting, as it represents an opportunity to make sure that Prunus receives appropriate attention and resources from policy makers and fund holders.

Action Items: