Is Livestock Breed Database Hell beckoning?

I’ve said before that I thought the animal genetic resources community had got its act together a bit better than us plants people as far as information and communications are concerned. But now I’m having second thoughts. Let’s start with FAO’s Animal Production and Health Division. It has a webpage on Implementing the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources. One component of that is the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS). So far so good. But that includes a database of breeds. And so does ILRI’s Domestic Animal Genetic Resources Information System (DAGRIS), though admittedly this one has trait information too. And I haven’t even begun to dig into the national and regional stuff. Is this the beginning of Livestock Breed Database Hell? Oh, and ILRI also has a separate site on Animal Genetic Training Resources (AGTR).

4 Replies to “Is Livestock Breed Database Hell beckoning?”

  1. Hi Luigi

    For the ILRI part, we have been working on a more integrated approach that brings together all our ‘animal genetic resources’ sites into a unified AnGR knowledge space. Thus it would include at least DAGRIS, AGTR (which is training materials), and a related CDROM ‘virtual library.’ The problem is that each was built in isolation from the other, each has content buried inside a proprietary system (that we are moving to open), and none systematically and smartly (from a info architecture perspective) pull in the diverse content of the others .. and elsewhere. So we are moving to a more integrated set of services that share content (photos, documents etc) and allow for searching across etc. There’s also some work on ‘country’ views of DAGRIS. But it takes some time still!

    FYI: The ‘virtual library’ is now here and should be one of the building blocks for both DAGRIS and AGTR

  2. Peter – glad to hear about efforts to integrate genetic resources sites. I’ve found both DAGRIS AND DAD-IS to be very useful – I’m in Burundi and have been working on upgrading the indigenous Central African Goat, as well as X-breeding CAG with Boer and German Alpine. One of the biggest problem here is lack of understanding that conservation and upgrading of indigenous breeds is as (and perhaps more) important than unorganized crossings with exotics. I’ve had a couple of grants from AARNET about 10 years ago, to work on issues of restocking (following civil strife). We need continued input on these and related issues by way of making the animal genetic resource materials more accessible to ministry, extension, research, and NGO folk. There are just huge gaps in understanding that can’t be solved by indiscriminant crossings…Look forward to following virtual library work.

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