Plant Breeding Overview (HS 521)

Exercise 1 – Germplasm and Reproduction

Give complete answers, but be brief and specific. Show your work.

20 points total

1. You have been hired by an “underdeveloped country” to put together a collection of dry bean (Phaseolus) cultigens for use in local breeding programs. What 3 major sources of germplasm besides native cultivars from that country (they have already been placed in the collection) should be used first in forming the collection? List them in priority order, and give the reason they should be considered an important source (and why you gave it the priority shown).

Priority Source Reason for priority               






2. Describe 3 hypotheses that Harlan presented in his book, Crops & Man, for the domestication of crops by man (how did the hunting-gathering tribes become agricultural)? Which hypothesis do you prefer?







3. Plant germplasm in the United States is managed by the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS); see   Plant germplasm maintained by NPGS is catalogued in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).

Using a web browser access the NPGS homepage using the address above.   Answer the following questions by searching the information contained in the NPGS homepage.

Study a map of the US showing the locations of plant germplasm repositories.

3a. What is the mission of the NPGS?



3b. What is the purpose of the GRIN?



3c. List three diseases evaluated by NPGS for your crop (or a related one if yours is not covered by NPGS).



3d. Determine if there is a germplasm committee for your crop of interest.  If possible, get the list of committee members.   Also, visit the homepage of a germplasm committee.



3e. Visit the homepage of the repository that maintains your crop species of interest.  Study the page.



3f. List the addresses of three other locations/homepages (ie. other than NPGS) that have information on the genetics of your crop species of interest.