Information is the crucial link between conservation and use. In order for the material in genebanks to be put to use, it is essential that information about its characteristics and whereabouts is easily available. Although most genebanks have some form of information system, not many are online, and there are few examples of linkages among them. The plethora of unlinked, largely offline, information systems means that breeders and other potential users face a huge challenge in searching for what they need. In addition, the lack of a comprehensive global information system makes it difficult to identify duplications among genebanks, a necessary step in the evolution of a fully rational and cost-effective global conservation system for the world’s crops.
The Trust, in partnership with Bioversity International on behalf of the now-defunct Systemwide Genetic Resources Programme of the CGIAR,, has supported the development of GENESYS, an online information portal linking genebanks worldwide. The project brings together existing online international information systems, such as the CGIAR’s System-wide Information Network for Genetic Resources (SINGER) and the European Cooperative Programme for Crop Genetic Resources Network’s database (EURISCO), with the databases of national genebanks, initially that of the USDA (GRIN). This user-friendly accession-level information system has a is a one-stop portal through which breeders, researchers and other users can search multiple genebank databases on multiple criteria, and acquire genetic resources simply and efficiently, hugely enhancing their ability to react to the many challenges facing agriculture.
For more information on GENESYS, click here.