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Thursday, October 8, 2015

IRRI boss advocates inter-operability portals for databases

The Director General, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Robert Zeigler, has urged every gene bank in the world to re-design their databases to match some international standard, saying that what is needed is inter-operability, to create portals where everyone's databases can talk to another, NaijaAgroNet reports.  

Genome sequences of more than 3,000 rice varieties have been placed with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) by the world's leading rice research institute in a move boosting plans to set up a global data exchange system for crop genetic resources.

The Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Treaty (ITPGRFA) NaijaAgroNet informs, made the announcement at the 6th session of the Governing Body of the FAO-based 136-member nation plant treaty that is being held in Rome this week.

Around the world governments and organizations are storing genetic material in seed banks, but without one single gateway to genetic resource data, it is very difficult for researchers and plant breeders to know what is held where and what genetic resources are contained in the seeds.

The Secretary of the International Treaty, Shakeel Bhatti, said, "The genetic information that IRRI is making available to us, and the public at large, is a hugely generous and significant show of support to our endeavours to make all relevant information on genetic resources on plant crops available for future food security."

"To have so much information on rice, which after all is the basic food for half the world's population, placed at the fingertips of everyone is a major step in securing food security for future generations," he added.

The Rome meeting will discuss how to enhance the current multi-lateral system through the creation of one Global Information System on Plant Genetic Resources. This system containing information including on how to access genetic material and seed samples from existing gene banks would be developed and overseen by the Treaty's host, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), NaijaAgroNet learnt

Cyriacus Nnaji/GEE

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