Desperately seeking germplasm

Thanks to Cary for pointing out this interesting request on IdeaConnection, which is basically an online market-place for crowdsourcing solutions to R&D problems. A “client” is willing to pay a finder’s fee of $2,000 for cucumber germplasm resistant to nematodes, Fusarium, CGMMV, downy mildew and cold. Easy money? Hardly. We’re talking about Genebank Database Hell here.

You can search GRIN on evaluation descriptors, but the only one of the target traits for which there are data is downy mildew. Some 175 accessions are listed as having low susceptibility to that disease, but that basically is as far as you can go. You could theoretically download those results with additional data on origin and then maybe focus in on specific countries where you think you might have a better chance of finding cold-tolerant material. Like Canada, maybe. But I was not able to get the download to work. There are probably ways around it, but the bottom line is that at most we’d be able to satisfy one and maybe a half of the conditions. CGN also allows a search on plant traits, but only characterization descriptors, and if any of its 937 cucumber accessions satisfy the search criteria, we won’t be able to find out online. AVRDC does allow a search on pest and disease resistance, but I don’t know enough about the subject to know whether the two cucumber mosaic viruses listed are the same as CGMMV, and in any case there are no accessions resistant to either.

That two grand clearly won’t be easy to claim just by trawling public genebank databases, which is kind of a damning indictment of the state of genetic resources documentation, and probably the reason why the “client” went the IdeaConnection route in the first place. It’ll have to be an inside job, I guess, a breeder or genebank curator who knows they have the requisite germplasm sitting on their shelf, say.

But wait, not all is lost, maybe watermelon might be easier?

2 Replies to “Desperately seeking germplasm”

  1. Dear Luigi,
    My name is Willem van Dooijeweert and I am the curator of the CGN cucumber collection. I read the request for germplasm of cucumber having certain traits on IdeaConnection. I can imagine that somebody wants to pay $2,000 for a resistance source to CGMMV. As far as I know this is still not found or not public yet.
    Concerning searchable data on the CGN website I want you to know that we make available all data we have. So if you cannot find evaluation data of cucumber, we simply do not have them. This has nothing to do with the state of our documentation.

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