Yes, we have plenty of banana information, take 2

A new version of the Musa Germplasm Information System (MGIS) is out. There’s more data, tools for better curation, a way to search for accessions cited in the literature, and re-organized menus. Do check it out. MGIS data eventually makes its way to Genesys.

And since I’m here, it’s worth noting that the banana is uniquely well-endowed with information resources. In addition to MGIS, there’s a whole slew of other databases and assorted information products, thanks to the wonder that is ProMusa.

ProMusa is a network of people promoting scientific discussions on bananas.

In alliance with the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS), the network organizes scientific symposia (reported in proceedings) to help its members stay up-to-date on the latest research developments and encourage collaborations within and between disciplines.

When not meeting face-to-face, ProMusa members stay in touch using the network’s mailing list.

This website is the network’s online platform, which offers news, knowledge and information on bananas.

The centrepiece is Musapedia, “an online, collaboratively built compendium of knowledge on bananas.” But there are also databases of scientific literature, images and contacts. And an excellent news area — InfoMus@.

You can follow — and interact with — ProMusa on Facebook and Twitter. I can’t think of a crop that has anything similarly comprehensive. It really should be your first port of call for anything to do with bananas.

BTW, the title of this post refers to a previous foray into banana information resources.

PGR training needs identified

There’s an open access Crop Science Special Issue out under the title: Connecting Agriculture, Public Gardens and Science. Well worth having a look at. There’s great stuff on crop wild relatives, plant awareness, chefs, and trans-situ conservation, just to give you a flavour.

I’ll just highlight here the paper by Gayle Volk and others on training needs in plant genetic resources conservation.1 The authors sent out a survey and analyzed the feedback from 425 respondents by type of institution: academia, NPGS, CGIAR, national genebanks, NGOs and the private sector. There were, fortunately, some topics which a majority across all institutions considered high priority areas for training:

  • accessing information
  • crop wild relatives
  • genotyping
  • phenotyping
  • intellectual property and regulatory issues

But there was also some differences.

The respondents from academia were also interested … in prebreeding, which is not surprising because many of these respondents were plant breeders. Respondents from the private sector were also interested … in requests/distributions and prebreeding, and respondents from NGOs were also interested … in collection gap analyses, explorations, germplasm preservation, intellectual property, and regulations. The genebank respondents (NPGS, CGIAR, non-NPGS government) considered germplasm preservation, intellectual property, and general concepts in plant genetic diversity as priority topics. These differences among the institutional types are not surprising due to their different missions.

This all came out of an initiative from the NPGS that started back in early 2018. Training materials of various types are being developed. Will keep you posted.

  1. Volk, G. M., P. K. Bretting, and P. F. Byrne. 2019. Survey Identifies Essential Plant Genetic Resources Training Program Components. Crop Sci. 59:2308-2316. doi:10.2135/cropsci2019.05.0324. []

Nibbles: International genebanks, Ahmed Amri, Genebank management, Nutrition stories, Spice nomenclature, Breeding against waste, Cuneiform tablets, Breadfruit, Ag risk, Giant pineapple, Chiles in Mexico, Solanum jamesii, Seed Week, Kenyan community seedbank, Lost apples