Those who follow such things will no doubt be as excited as we are about the fact that USDA’s National Plant Germplasm System has just switched over from its old workhorse documentation system, GRIN, to the young pretender, GRIN-Global.1 You can access all the passport, characterization and evaluation data USDA has on its 574,764 accessions from the GRIN-Global website. What the user sees on the public interface when searching for and ordering germplasm, though, is only a small part of the picture. All USDA genebank staff around the country are also using the Curator Tool to manage their collections and fulfil order requests. It’s been a massive undertaking. And the software is actually available to all. So if you’re a genebank curator and would like to experiment with the same documentation system that the mighty NPGS uses, check it out.
As it happens, we’ve also just come across a case of a user downloading some GRIN data and serving it up on its own. The good folks at Widespread Malus have extracted all the Malus sieversii data and stuck them in an Excel spreadsheet, to make things even easier for wild apple enthusiasts. Nice idea.