Development of a Base Collection of Malus Germplasm with Cryopreserved Dormant Buds

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  • 1 1USDA/ARS Plant Genetic Resources Unit, Cornell Univ., Geneva, NY 14456-0462
  • 2 2USDA/ARS National Seed Storage Laboratory, Fort Collins, CO 80523

The USDA/ARS collection of Malus is held by the Plant Genetic Resources Unit in Geneva, N.Y. The collection comprises ≈2500 accessions, most of which must be maintained as clones in the field to provide propagating material for distribution to the user community. Field maintenance of replicated accessions places the collection at risk from weather extremes, pests, diseases, etc. and is extremely costly. Cryopreservation of dormant buds in a base, or backup, collection could reduce risks and decrease maintenance costs. Since 1988, we have developed and implemented protocols to cryopreserve dormant apple buds at the National Seed Storage Laboratory, Fort Collins, Colo. More than 500 accessions have been placed in cryogenic storage. Buds have been successfully recovered by grafting from >70% of the first 250 accessions cryopreserved. These results, and those from ongoing recovery tests, indicate cryopreservation may be a safe, cost-effective approach to back up collections of tree fruit germplasm. It also may be used to enhance management of the active collections of Malus, Vitis, and Prunus at Geneva.

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