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GGCE is an up-to-date, open-source, freely downloadable genebank information management software package that addresses some of the gaps in functionality of its predecessor, GRIN-Global. GGCE, for example, closely integrates barcoding and use of hand-held devices, and works well with both seed collections and tissue-culture samples alike. Barcoding helps reduce the need for staff to manually write notes or labels, which increases accuracy and helps avoid mislabeling.

Speaking a common language

While GGCE can be tailored for use with any genebank collection, applying its default, standardized terms for commonly used data will assist genebank management in many ways. For instance, all genebanks need to indicate to users if seed samples are “available” for distribution, but currently use different terms for this. There are also several different words in use in different systems for sets of seeds, such as “lots”, “batches”, “inventories”. Standardizing the terminology used will greatly facilitate exchange of data and collaboration among genebanks.

Tracking progress

GGCE also allows genebanks to automatically track over time the progress of their collection management activities, such as seed viability testing and regeneration, with an easy-to-use, color-coded system, enabling better scheduling. Ultimately, it will help ensure seed samples are not lost because a crucial maintenance activity was accidentally missed or delayed.

A community effort

The development of GGCE is coordinated at the Crop Trust in collaboration with the Community of Practice on (genebank) Data Management, which was begun under the Genebank Platform. All 11 CGIAR genebanks involved in the Genebank Platform have a test version of GGCE up and running and are in the process of evaluating the system.

“It might not be talked about or acknowledged enough, but proper information systems are vital for genebank curators to manage their collections. By streamlining genebank workflows and by automating procedures, we minimize human error.”

Matija Obreza Information Systems Manager, Crop Trust
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