A free, user-friendly online database system for managing the world’s plant genebanks will be launched this year, thanks to a partnership between the USDA and the Consultive Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
The international project involves updating a germplasm management system called the Germplasm Resources Infromation Network (GRIN), originally developed by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. The updated system, called GRIN-Global will be initiated at CGIAR centers this month, and in the United States in 2012.
ARS uses GRIN to manage agricultural data on plant genetic resources at various genebank sites. Using GRIN-Global, other nations will have the ability to document their plant germplasm and deliver that information worldwide, according to Peter Cyr, information technology specialist and project leader at the ARS North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station in Ames, Iowa. Each genebank will have its own local version of the GRIN-Global software, which is capable of supporting different languages.
Curators can customize the system to fit their specific needs and keep track of genetic material origins, traits and properties.