About Genesys

About Genesys

By helpdesk@genesys-pgr.org
16 October 2019

Genesys is a database which allows users to explore the world’s crop diversity conserved in genebanks through a single website.

First launched in 2008, it contains about 4 million genebank accessions, which is around a half of the estimated total number in the world.

Genesys allows breeders and other genebank users to quickly search for – and request – crop samples located in over 450 institutes around the globe. Instead of trawling through numerous separate databases, users find in Genesys a single entry-point to information about genebank accessions.

Genesys serves two distinct but connected groups of people. There are the genebanks, institutes and research centers who use Genesys to publish accession data on the portal. Then, there are those – breeders, researchers, and policymakers – who use Genesys to inform their own work.


CGIAR Genebank Platform

Genesys is supported by CGIAR donors via the Genebank Platform. We would like to thank all donors who supported this work through their contributions to the CGIAR Fund.


Work on the Genesys Catalog of Phenotypic Datasets was made possible thanks to the kind contribution of the Federal Republic of Germany.

CWR Project

Publication on Genesys of accession information from EMBRAPA, Brazil, is one of the activities on information systems of the CWR Project, which is supported by the Government of Norway.

Crop Trust

Genesys is managed by the Global Crop Diversity Trust, which manages the Crop Diversity Endowment Fund. National governments are the largest contributors to this fund. 

How does Genesys work?

Genesys makes it easy for organizations with a collection of crop diversity to make their data publicly available. Users can then explore this vast resource using a variety of strategies. Once they have found what they are looking for, users can request seeds and other planting materials from many of the genebanks holding them.

Find out how to use Genesys here.

Why is Genesys important?

To protect the future of the world’s food supply, researchers strive to increase crop productivity under increasingly difficult environmental and biological challenges. Breeders develop new, better adapted and nutritious cultivars by delving into the vast crop diversity found in genebanks, wherein they find plant genetic resources that will provide the genetic characteristics required for the crops of the future.

How is Genesys different from other genebank databases?

Genesys is different because it brings together information on millions of accessions stored in genebanks around the world into one easy-to-use website. Rather than trawling through multiple, separate databases, users are able to simultaneously search hundreds of genebank collections with a single search term or filter. This makes this essential preliminary work more efficient

Where does the data come from?

Genesys brings together some of the world’s largest databases of individual genebanks and plant genetic resource networks. These networks often incorporate numerous institutions and many more individual networks – for example, the almost two million accessions provided by ECP/GR through the European Plant Genetic Resources Search Catalogue (EURISCO) come from hundreds of research centers, genebanks and institutions across Europe. Likewise, the CGIAR genebanks are close collaborators and update almost 800,000 passport records every year.

In addition, many individual genebanks, research institutions and smaller networks publish their collection information on the portal to share with the world.

How do I join Genesys?

The amount and detail of data on Genesys is constantly expanding. It is updated when networks, institutions and genebanks join the community, add material to their collections, develop focused selections (or subsets) and publish characterization and evaluation (C&E) datasets about their material.

Genesys welcomes contributions from across the plant genetic resources community. To become a Genesys data provider, please indicate your interest in doing so and request a copy of the Genesys Data Provider Agreement (Genesys DPA) from the Genesys helpdesk. The Genesys team will help you prepare and upload passport data and will provide the utilities for making additions and updates, including imagery, subsets and C&E datasets.

You can watch this short video to find out how to upload your data, or contact helpdesk@genesys-pgr.org

Seed requests

Many of the seeds (and other types of planting material) whose data is shared through Genesys are available on request from the holding genebank. When this is the case, Genesys will relay your request for requested material to the holding genebank. Kindly note that access to any material is subject to legal and phytosanitary conditions in addition to genebank distribution policies.

Timeline of Genesys

In 2001 the United Nations adopted the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The Treaty acknowledges the need to establish a system for sharing genetic information among breeders, farmers and researchers.

Genesys development started in 2008 by Bioversity International, the Secretariat of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and the Global Crop Diversity Trust, supported by a grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The first Genesys portal was launched in 2011, including information on collections from three of the world’s largest genebank databases and networks: EURISCOCGIAR and USDA NPGS. The genebank accessions in these collections alone constitute around a third of the worldwide total.

In 2012, a task force – later to become the Genesys Advisory Committee – recommended that the Crop Trust become the legal entity responsible for the development of Genesys. After three years of development, the updated Genesys portal was published to allow for continuous updates from partner institutes.

Since then, users and data providers have continued to join the Genesys community, bringing more accession information to more people around the world.

The future

Development of the Genesys portal continues. Future goals include adding information from more data providers, enhancing search functionality, and expanding the environmental data available, all things that our stakeholders have already identified. The user of the information in Genesys is the most crucial contributor to the future development of the system. We welcome your input.

You can reach us at helpdesk@genesys-pgr.org with your Comments and Feedback!