How are new varieties of plants registered and why?

The final step in breeding programs is registering their new variety with the USDA

December 7, 2021 – You may see a new variety of vegetable at the grocery store, for example an unusual new lettuce or apple. There are other important new varieties of crops that don’t show up on grocery shelves as fruits and vegetables. Food products like grains are usually used as ingredients in other foods, like crackers, cereal, and bread. What type of steps took for it to arrive in the produce section of your grocery? The December 7th, 2021, Sustainable, Secure Food Blog explains the process, including plant registration.

According to blogger William Rooney, who used sorghum as an example of the breeding process, “the Texas A&M Agrilife Research Sorghum Improvement Program develops new sorghum inbred lines that are used to produce hybrids. New inbred lines can be licensed by commercial companies to produce and sell these hybrids. Lines from this program are release by Texas A&M Agrilife Research and then registered in the Journal of Plant Registrations.”

In the past year, the program has registered nine new inbred lines that possess unique quality characteristics that are rare in elite sorghum germplasm.

The first set of six pollinator lines (designated as Tx3483 to Tx3488) produce hybrids with good yield and they possess waxy endosperm This trait is of interest to specialty markets like cereal processing and distilled spirits. This is because the waxy trait creates sorghum that can be processed faster and digested better than normal sorghum grains. So, these first new lines of sorghum we released focused on the waxy trait and are adapted to the Texas and Kansas growing environments.

The second registration details the development of two pollinator lines (Tx3489 and Tx3490) that can be used to produce grain sorghum hybrids with improved popping quality. Popped sorghum has increased in popularity and is now sold commercially of home popping, as popped snack food and as an ingredient in other processed foods such as granola bars. These lines produced hybrids with similar agronomic performance and superior popping performance.

This research was published earlier in 2021 in Journal of Plant Registrations.

To learn more, read the entire blog:

The American Society of Agronomy is an international scientific and professional society with its headquarters in Madison, WI. Our members are researchers and trained, certified professionals in the areas of growing our world’s food supply, while protecting our environment. We work at universities, government research facilities and private businesses across the United States and the world.

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