Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 59, Issue 5, pp 635–644 | Cite as

Digitization and online availability of original collecting mission data to improve data quality and enhance the conservation and use of plant genetic resources

  • Imke ThormannEmail author
  • Hannes Gaisberger
  • Federico Mattei
  • Laura Snook
  • Elizabeth Arnaud


Ex situ conservation in genebanks is the most important way of conserving plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) (FAO 2010). The use of germplasm conserved in genebanks depends to a large extent on the quality and quantity of data available about each accession. Initial selection of accessions for use in research or breeding is often made based on the available passport information, which describes the source of the material. Availability of collecting site description or geographic coordinates is considered a quality indicator in particular for accessions of wild species and landraces (Van Hintum et al. in Plant Genet Resour Charact Util 9(3):478–485, 2011). However lack or unavailability of accession specific data, including passport and location data, continues to represent a constraint to enhanced utilization of accessions (FAO 2010; Khoury et al. in Genet Resour Crop Evol 57(4):625–639, 2010). Collecting mission reports and collecting forms provide original data, including location data, about materials collected and distributed to genebanks. The International Board for Plant Genetic Resources and its successor, the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (now Bioversity International) have supported the collection of over 225,000 samples of PGRFA during the last quarter of the past century. The documentation gathered at the time of their collection has recently been digitized, passport data extracted, and made available through the web (;, where it can be consulted to integrate and improve the quality of passport data. Collected samples can be linked to accessions in genebanks. The original collecting mission reports often include eco-geographic, environmental, biotic and climate data that can be used to improve knowledge about the accessions and facilitate their utilization.


Collecting missions Data quality Digitization Ex situ conservation Germplasm utilization Passport data 



The recently concluded World Bank-funded project, entitled “Collective Action for the Rehabilitation of Global Public Goods in the CGIAR Genetic Resources System: Phase 2” (GPG2), implemented under the aegis of the System-wide Genetic Resources Program of the CGIAR (SGRP), provided the context and financial resources for achieving work described in this article (SGRP 2010), which was undertaken within the GPG2 activity 4.1 on completion of passport data entry to assess knowledge and gaps in the diversity and genetic quality of the collections.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Imke Thormann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hannes Gaisberger
    • 1
  • Federico Mattei
    • 1
  • Laura Snook
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Arnaud
    • 1
  1. 1.Bioversity InternationalRomeItaly

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