All hail another all-encompassing database

by Jeremy Cherfas on November 29, 2012

NERC, which is the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council has a Knowledge Exchange Programme on Sustainable Food Production, which

aims to enhance the use of science in making UK food production systems more environmentally sustainable. Sustainable food production makes efficient use of natural resources and does not degrade the environmental systems that underpin it.

Great. NERC is summarising scientific research about how to make food production more sustainable. Naturally we went straight there and plugged “biodiversity” into the search engine. Up came the result. Yup, just the one. How to rear bumblebees in captivity. To be fair, the advice is based on 22 trials from 13 countries, and is pretty comprehensive. And bumblebees are important. It’s just that, to be honest, I expected more.

P.S.
While we’re on the subject of all-encompassing databases, SINGER is no longer. Go there, and you’ll see this message:

Bioversity is pleased to inform the users of the SINGER web site, that starting today, it will no longer exist and this page will automatically lead you to the new Plant Genetic Resource Gateway: GENESYS that currently compiles the data from SINGER, EURISCO and GRIN.

“Pleased”? Really?

We’ve been asked “to fix any links to SINGER in any web sites you are managing, preferrably replacing the SINGER logo with the GENESYS logo, and a direct link to GENESYS”. But you know what? Life’s too short. If you should find a link to SINGER that doesn’t work, let us know and we’ll try to do something about it, if there’s anything to be done.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Richard Bruskiewich December 10, 2012 at 11:20 pm

The CGIAR genebank managers decided in December 2011 that GENESYS (http://www.genesys-pgr.org/) would contain all of the SINGER data and become the de-facto portal to CGIAR genetic resources data.

This decision was re-iterated at the Genebank CGIAR Research Program annual general meeting in mid-November. By that time, the SINGER data had already been uploaded to GENESYS, therefore, SINGER was deemed redundant hence taken offline (with a redirection to GENESYS).

The Global Crop Diversity Trust has indicated their intention to fully manage the next phase of GENESYS and are open to feedback on how the GENESYS system can be improved.

As indicated in the redirection static page, anyone with concerns about access to SINGER may now email the Genesys help desk line for assistance. Bioversity has an archive copy of the SINGER database for future reference, if necessary, by the community of genebanks.

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Dave Wood December 11, 2012 at 10:44 am

Richard: I have just accessed the USDA GRIN database. If you use `SINGER’ as a search term you get a link to SINGER, as below (multiple examples for CG collections). What’s going on? Wasn’t there supposed to be a unified GRIN-SINGER database? Has this been scrapped?

Also, many years ago, I used SINGER to work out – with difficulty – the number of accessions going into the individual CG genebanks each year. Is this still possible with Genesys?

USDA GRIN Accessed 11 December 2012

PI 492143 – Zea mays subsp. mays – ARZM 07 038 – Formosa, Argentina — rank: 1000
… Pergamino Blanco Idtype: LOCALNAME. CIMMYTMA-014604 Idtype: CGIAR. Group: SINGER-CIMMYT-MAIZE. Comment: Singer database at http://noc1.cgiar.org pass.dbf 04-28-1997 CIMMYTMA-012455 Idtype: CGIAR. Group: SINGER-CIMMYT-MAIZE. Comment: Singer database at http://noc1.cgiar.org 10/28/97. Not in Singer on 03/16/2003. CIMMYT 12455 Idtype: INSTITUTE …
http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/acchtml.pl?1387079 – 9507 bytes -

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