International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture


Ruaraidh Hamilton, Marco Marsella and Francisco López


Over 185 000 DOIs registered in first three weeks

Kigali, Rwanda, 31 October 2017The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture has developed a Global Information System (GLIS) to provide facilitated access to information on seed and other crop material for research and breeding. This is the newest benefit under the International Treaty.

GLIS assigns unique Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) in a consistent and accurate way to help identify the material. This is critical for the effective accumulation of information resulting from scientific research carried out by different institutions.

In the three weeks that GLIS has been live, over 185 000 DOIs have been assigned.

Registering PGRFA in GLIS and populating the descriptor “MLS Status” constitutes an accession-level notification of PGRFA inclusion in the International Treaty’s Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing (MLS) that Contracting Parties had requested. An important function of GLIS is recording the relationships among PGRFA when they are transferred or developed, which is critical because advanced research relies on accurate tracking of the material’s genealogy. Such information is currently available only in some highly specialized systems. However, users may not be aware of its availability or may have trouble accessing the different systems; GLIS significantly facilitates access.

The first stakeholders adopting DOIs in GLIS are CGIAR centres, namely, the International Potato Center (CIP), The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI); the Centre For Genetic Resources, the Netherlands (CGN), and the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI). Others are expected to register their collections shortly.

The GLIS initiative includes capacity building activities to support the adoption of DOIs, improving documentation systems, and strengthening regional networks.

GLIS has been developed in collaboration with the FAO Information Technology Division, which provides the hosting service for the system. The System also collaborates with a wide range of bodies, including CGIAR Genebank and Plant Breeding Platforms; Genesys; ECPGR – EURISCO; USDA-ARS; GODAN; and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

 photo by ENB

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