Highlights of the Workshop

Tailoring the Documentation of Plant Genetic Resources in Europe to the Needs of the User

Iva Faberova in the genebank of the Crop Research Institute, Praha-Ruzyne, Czech Republic (May 2014)

A Workshop of the Documentation and Information Working Group, “Tailoring the Documentation of Plant Genetic Resources in Europe to the Needs of the User”, was held in Prague, Czech Republic, from 20 to 22 May 2014.

This workshop, attended by 49 participants from 29 different countries, gathered a selected group of National Inventory Focal Points, ECPGR Central Crop Database managers and international experts of PGR documentation and informatics. A number of ECPGR National Coordinators and Working Group Chairs also attended. The new coordinator and manager of EURISCO, which is being transferred from Bioversity International, Rome to IPK, Gatersleben, introduced himself and discussed the future short- and medium-term perspectives of the online PGR catalogue. The relationship between EURISCO and the ECPGR Central Crop Databases (CCDBs) was also discussed, based on an extensive survey of the current status of the 48 CCDBs. An agreement was reached, indicating that CCDBs will be encouraged to evolve towards crop portals, providing various types of information of interest for the crop users. The Workshop also discussed documentation of in situ data (crop wild relatives and landraces) and about the future role of genebanks in the genomics era.

The main highlights of the meeting are listed below:


  • After the transfer of EURISCO to IPK, measures will be taken to improve its data coverage and the quality of the data.
  • EURISCO will be prepared to receive non-standardized Characterization and Evaluation data based on the data exchange formats as previously prepared, discussed and approved.  
  • It was agreed that EURISCO should include information about crop wild relative (CWR) populations that have been nationally designated for in situ managed conservation. Existing data flow mechanisms (through the National Focal Points) should be used for data provision, according to data exchange formats to be established.
  • No consensus was reached on the inclusion of on-farm information in EURISCO, since there was no agreement on what type of information should be included and for what purpose. It was therefore recommended to continue discussion and collaboration with the On-farm Conservation and Management WG to better explore collaborative options.
  • A EURISCO Advisory Group, to be selected among the members of the Documentation and Information Working Group, will be re-established to monitor the progress

Central Crop databases/Portals

It was recommended that CCDB managers should consider developing the supply-driven CCDBs into demand-driven Crop Portals, with support of the respective Working Groups. Scope, function, key elements and quality requirements of these Portals, to be developed under the ECPGR umbrella, should be identified by an ad hoc ECPGR meeting.

Other issues

  • The Doc&Info WG will remain involved in the DivSeek initiative and will play an active role in guiding genebanks to establish the appropriate link with X-omics information.
  • It is recommended that the Doc&Info WG maintain a strong relationship with Genesys and GRIN-Global.
  • The ECPGR Doc&Info Working Group recognized the need to develop a capacity building programme to support the ECPGR members to effectively use new tools and meet new requirements regarding PGR documentation.

The full report of the workshop is available here. Recommendations from this workshop will be circulated to the ECPGR Steering Committee for endorsement.

Participants in the Workshop (Photo: R. Baltrenas)