I’m pretty sure we have blogged in the past about “A Neglected Heritage,” a documentary film about plant genetic resources produced by Ulf Gyllensten in 1984 for the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (now Bioversity International) in cooperation with the Nordic Gene Bank. But, alas, I can find no evidence of that. Anyway, you can see it, and other NordGen videos, on a blip.tv channel curated by Dag Endresen.
On Friday 17 May, in Los Angeles, a symposium on the Cultural Politics of Seeds will take place. It looks to include the usual hot-button topics and some more out-of-the-way excursions, and some of the names are familiar to us. While the seminar is free and open to the public, there’s no mention of an online presence. Yet.
If you’re going to be there, why not send us a write-up?
More bad news, I’m afraid, this time from the USDA’s National Plant Germplasm System. Gary Kinard, Research Leader at the National Germplasm Resources Laboratory in Beltsville has informed us of the passing of Mark Bohning. I first met Mark quite some time ago, and interacted with him on a number of occasions over the years. He was very knowledgeable about the US germplasm system, its genebanks, documentation system and users, and always incredibly helpful in dealing with enquiries. This is very sad news for everyone working in plant genetic resources. Below is the announcement Gary sent round a couple of days ago.
I am enormously saddened to share the news with you that Mark Bohning, a Plant Germplasm Program Specialist with the USDA-ARS National Germplasm Resources Laboratory in Beltsville died this morning at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore from multiple organ failure. Mark had been having some ongoing medical problems for awhile, although his sudden passing at age 53 is tragic and shocking to his many friends and colleagues.
Mark was a Plant Germplasm Program Specialist with NGRL where he worked on a variety of projects to support the US National Plant Germplasm System. He was the primary liaison between ARS and our 42 Crop Germplasm Committees (CGC) and travelled to many CGC meetings over the years. He participated in the apple CGC teleconference on Friday May 3. I think it is somehow appropriate this was his last CGC meeting as it was one his favorite committees with which to interact. He also helped assign Plant Introduction numbers for the NPGS and was always willing to help sites load data into GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network), generate reports for ARS, and generally help users understand the system. He would toil quietly and without complaint to help enter many germplasm requests that were received as emails into GRIN. I could always count on Mark for his wealth of knowledge and willingness to help out in any way he could, without fanfare or need for recognition.
Few ARS employees knew the history, and had breadth of knowledge, of the NPGS and GRIN as well as Mark; he literally grew up with the system. He began working for ARS in 1980 while he was still an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Horticulture from the University of Maryland in 1982 and 1985, respectively. He spent his entire career at BARC, almost all of it in NGRL.
Mark knew so many people associated with our genetic resource collections- from the curators and genebank staff, to stakeholders and colleagues in other USDA agencies, to the CGC Chairs, to a great many of the public and private sector members of the 42 CGCs.
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