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International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture



More than 97 % of CGIAR’s Genebank Collections Registered in Global Information System

More than 97% of the total worldwide collection of plant genetic resources held in the genebank collections of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) have now been registered in the Global Information System (GLIS) of the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. This equals over 775 000 Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs). Of these, more than 600 000 plant genetic materials are included in the Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing of the International Treaty.

“This is an important milestone,” said Kent Nnadozie, Secretary of the International Treaty. “We are very pleased that so many and diverse institutions and organizations are quickly adopting the new digital identifiers,” he said. “The accurate and permanent identification of plant genetic resources using DOIs is the cornerstone for more efficient information sharing and scientific collaboration.”

Through the GLIS Portal, plant breeders and researchers can now access information on the plant genetic material conserved by the CGIAR centers in the genebanks, in addition to others. The current total number of DOIs registered in GLIS is more than 829 000 and growing.

In June 2017, the CGIAR recognized the importance of assigning DOIs to plant genetic resources to improve their visibility and use by researchers. It also committed itself to registering all the collections maintained by 11 of the 15 centers through the Global Information System (GLIS) of the International Treaty by the end of 2018, which they accomplished on schedule.

The Global Information System currently offers core information based on the GLIS Descriptors and Guidelines recently developed by the International Treaty. The portal provides additional links and references on 181,908 records of wheat (Triticum) and 147,360 of rice (Oryza). Other popular genera are Hordeum, Phaseolus, Cicer, Sorghum and Zea, all with more than 30,000 records each.  It also offers links pointing to additional data in other information Systems like WIEWS, Genesys, phenotypic catalogues and national inventories.

Capacity development

The Secretariat of the International Treaty launched a comprehensive capacity development initiative in 2017 and 2018, with the support of the Government of Germany. This included organizing regional and national capacity strengthening workshops and training events and training material to promote the adoption of DOIs.  Their adoption is making plant genetic information more accessible to potential users by linking it to their accession numbers or local identifiers, and facilitating the adoption of policy measures to support the conservation of plant genetic resources.

The immediate adoption of DOIs by the GCIAR has inspired other stakeholders to follow. In total, more than 50 000 additional DOIs have been assigned to plant genetic resources maintained in national research institutions, universities and genebanks worldwide during the last year, as these organizations collaborate and exchange material and information for research and plant breeding.

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