Ex situ conservation in genebanks is the most important way of conserving plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) (FAO 2010). The use of germplasm conserved in genebanks depends to a large extent on the quality and quantity of data available about each accession. Initial selection of accessions for use in research or breeding is often made based on the available passport information, which describes the source of the material. Availability of collecting site description or geographic coordinates is considered a quality indicator in particular for accessions of wild species and landraces (Van Hintum et al. in Plant Genet Resour Charact Util 9(3):478–485, 2011). However lack or unavailability of accession specific data, including passport and location data, continues to represent a constraint to enhanced utilization of accessions (FAO 2010; Khoury et al. in Genet Resour Crop Evol 57(4):625–639, 2010). Collecting mission reports and collecting forms provide original data, including location data, about materials collected and distributed to genebanks. The International Board for Plant Genetic Resources and its successor, the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (now Bioversity International) have supported the collection of over 225,000 samples of PGRFA during the last quarter of the past century. The documentation gathered at the time of their collection has recently been digitized, passport data extracted, and made available through the web (http://www.central-repository.cgiar.org/; http://www.genesys-pgr.org/), where it can be consulted to integrate and improve the quality of passport data. Collected samples can be linked to accessions in genebanks. The original collecting mission reports often include eco-geographic, environmental, biotic and climate data that can be used to improve knowledge about the accessions and facilitate their utilization.
Thormann, I.; Gaisberger, H.; Mattei, F.; Snook, L.; Arnaud, E. Digitization and online availability of original collecting mission data to improve data quality and enhance the conservation and use of plant genetic resources. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution (2012) 59 (5) 635-644. [DOI: 10.1007/s10722-012-9804-z]