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Germinate platform recognised as a global Hub for plant genetic research

Germinate Hub
Germinate Hub
"This is great recognition of the work that the Germinate team has put into its development over the past 10 years. From initially being an in-house solution dealing with smaller projects, the platform is now used in a number of large worldwide projects"

A bioinformatics platform developed at the James Hutton Institute which allows users to import, visualize, explore and share project data for plant genetic resources has been recognised by being named a global ‘Hub Pilot’ by the DivSeek International Network Inc. (DivSeek International).

DivSeek International, are a global, community driven organisation that facilitates the generation, integration and sharing of information related to plant genetic resources. Their work allows genebank managers, researchers, breeders, and farmers to effectively utilise genetic variation for research, accelerated crop improvement, and sustainable production. They have recently launched 11 Hub Pilots in North America, Australasia, India, Africa and Europe. 

Led by teams of independent researchers the Hubs aim to provide a framework to identify opportunities for the formalisation of inter-regional collaborations, leveraging of regional capacity and supporting the training needs of young researchers

The institutes long-term work on a the plant database platform Germinatehas received support from DivSeek International.  The platform developed by the bioinformatics group within the Department of Information and Computational Sciences, recently unveiled a new version bringing significant improvements over its predecessor. Germinate allows complex data from genetic resource collections to be stored, queried and intuitively visualised.  It is already used by researchers and breeders around the world as a research tool and data repository for over 20 different species.

After being named as one of the global Hubs the Institute aims to promote the use of the platform as a distribution mechanism for information as well as general good data handling practice for plant genetic resources data. Dr Paul Shaw, who leads the project, said: "This is great recognition of the work that the Germinate team has put into its development over the past 10 years. From initially being an in-house solution dealing with smaller projects, the platform is now used in a number of large worldwide projects.

“We originally developed Germinate for use in barley, potatoes and soft fruit which are important to the Scottish economy but have now expanded into crops that just don’t grow here but are critical for other countries around the world.”

The Germinate team will focus not only on developing international networks and collaborations but in using two key Hutton plant colletions; The Commonwealth Potato Collection and the Ethiopian Landrace Collection, as exemplars of the values that the platform can provides to genetics research communities.

As a Hub Pilot Germinate is already being used to facilitate connections between culinary experts, anthropologists, sociologists, and ecologists and to expand the characterisation of crop diversity to include flavour, culinary uses, and traditional agricultural practices.  Research on chickpeas and durum wheat, focused on the management of plant genetic resources and dissemination of genetic knowledge, is also being pursued in the Hubs amongst many other exciting projects.

Chair of DivSeek International’s Board of Directors Professor Susan McCouch said: “Hubs are a key strategy for connecting independently funded researchers around the world with DivSeek International and its Working Groups.”

“This series of pilot programs is a critical first step in identifying how DivSeek International Hubs could provide a collaborative umbrella for the sharing of protocols and best practices for the plant genetic resource community. By encouraging engagement at the regional and thematic level, we can better identify opportunities to advance the use of plant genetic resources to improve crops and enhance food and nutritional security.”

Notes to editors

The new version of Germinate can be downloaded from the platform’s dedicated website and further information about other applications developed by the ICS department can be found here.

DivSeek International’s operations are funded by Genome Canada, Genome Prairie and the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) at the University of Saskatchewan. The organization currently has 67 member institutions representing 28 countries and has established a Secretariat in Saskatoon hosted by GIFS.

More information from: 

Adam Walker, Communications Officer, James Hutton Institute, Tel: 01224 395095 (direct line), 0344 928 5428 (switchboard)


Printed from /news/germinate-platform-recognised-global-hub-plant-genetic-research on 27/10/20 09:48:13 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.