Conservation of crop diversity in genebanks involves a range of activities, each of which is necessary to ensure the survival of collections and to make this diversity available for users. Seeds, or vegetative material, must be collected, cleaned and stored properly, rejuvenated when aged, tested for health and viability, investigated for their value in improving the crop, safety duplicated, and exchanged. Each of these activities both requires and generates information. As genebanks hold hundreds, and often thousands, of different samples, the only way to effectively track the status of all the accessions is with an efficient data management system. Many genebanks currently lack a truly effective way of managing their data, and in some cases do not even have a computerized listing of holdings. And the systems that do exist are often incompatible among genebanks.
The Trust has worked with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Bioversity International to develop and deploy a state-of-the-art genebank data management programme which would be user-friendly, flexible and powerful, useful for all sizes and types of genebank anywhere in the world. The resulting system is freely available, and can operate on a PC in multiple languages, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of operations in genebanks. The system provides for the tracking of accessions through the various conservation operations, from registration into the genebank to the distribution of samples to users, including the inventory of the results of germination tests, storage, regeneration, and multiplication. It holds data on the identity and origin of accessions (passport data), as well as information on traits (characterization and evaluation data) that breeders and researchers can use to identify specific accessions with particular value or interest.
This genebank data management system, which is called GRIN-Global, can easily share data with the international accession-level information system Genesys developed in partnership with Bioversity International. Genesys allow curators, researchers, and breeders the opportunity to locate and assess crop collections anywhere in the world, from anywhere in the world, massively increasing their ability to react to the challenges facing agriculture.
For more information on GRIN-Global click here.