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Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 757–772 | Cite as

The scientific information activity of Bioversity International: the descriptor lists

  • E. GotorEmail author
  • A. Alercia
  • V. Ramanatha Rao
  • J. Watts
  • F. Caracciolo
Review Article

Abstract

This paper explores the history of descriptor lists (DLs)—scientific standards for documenting plant genetic resources—which have been published by Bioversity International since 1976 (formerly IBPGR 1974–1991; IPGRI 1991–2006). Each DL represents an important tool; together, they constitute the basis for a standardized characterization system that provides an internationally agreed format and universally understood ‘language’ for plant genetic resources data. The paper also presents an analysis of data collected through questionnaires and web statistics on the impact of DLs in order to understand their use by major stakeholders. The usefulness of Bioversity’s DLs was measured in terms of their value in facilitating the establishment of databases, and improving collaborations and information exchange among organizations. Most survey respondents reported that they not only used Bioversity’s DLs, but recognized them as the standards for plant genetic resources data collection and management. Bioversity’s DLs are widely respected because they are developed by large groups of crop specialists. Together, the DLs are helping Bioversity to meet the ambitious objective of establishing a Clearing-House Mechanism as set forth by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Article 18.3, which seeks to promote and facilitate information exchange among parties, Governments and stakeholders in order to assure a full implementation of the CBD. A number of areas for improvement were identified, although some of them are either outside Bioversity’s mandate or depend on human or financial capital for implementation.

Keywords

Descriptor list Factor analysis Genebank management Information Plant genetic resources 

Abbreviations

ADB

Asian Development Bank

APWs

Annual Project Work Plans

CAGs

Crop Advisory Groups

CBD

Convention on Biological Diversity

CCER

Centre Commissioned External Reviews

CGIAR

Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research

COMECON

Council for Mutual Economic Aid

DLs

Descriptor lists

DUS

Distinctness, uniformity and stability

EXIR

Executive Information and Retrieval System

FAO

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation

GEF

Global Environment Facility

IBPGR

International Board for Plant Genetic Resources

IPGRI

International Plant Genetic Resources Institute

ISGR

Information system genetic resources

ITPGRFA

The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

MCPD

Multi-crop Passport Descriptors

PCA

Principal component analysis

PGR

Plant genetic resources

TAXIR

Taxonomic Information Retrieval System

UMB

Understanding and Managing Biodiversity

UNDP

United Nation Development Programme

UPOV

Union Internationale pour la Protection des Obtentions Végétales

References

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Gotor
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Alercia
    • 1
  • V. Ramanatha Rao
    • 1
  • J. Watts
    • 2
  • F. Caracciolo
    • 3
  1. 1.Bioversity InternationalMaccarese, RomeItaly
  2. 2.CGIAR Institutional Learning and Change InitiativeRomeItaly
  3. 3.Department of Agricultural Economics and PolicyUniversity of Naples ‘Federico II’NaplesItaly

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