How to navigate Genesys?

10 February 2021

Genesys is an online platform where you can find information about Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA) conserved in crop genebanks worldwide. The Sitemap explains the sections of the Genesys website and gives the user a sense of what information they can find where.

Genesys provides support to genebanks to document and prepare existing accession-level data on their material for publication, and makes that data accessible to you. While everyone can explore and use the data about genebank collections, requesting accessions from genebanks that choose to allow this on Genesys is subject to their distribution policies.

Genesys does not host information on in situ germplasm, breeding materials or released varieties, unless formally part of genebank collections. Genesys does not host genetic/sequence data or other high-throughput (-omics) data. These types of data are better handled using specialized software, but Genesys enables linking to these resources, using accession DOIs where possible.

This Sitemap explains the different sections of Genesys and what types of data they provide, in what format. The sections are also accessible directly from the Welcome page. The team behind Geneys posts updates in the News section.

Accessions in genebank collections

Genebanks maintain diverse PGR material in their collections for long-term conservation and for breeding and research as well as, in some cases, for direct use by farmers. The passport data on accessions in genebank collections provides details about accession provenance, taxonomy, and status in the genebank.

Accessions come and go: they are biological materials that age with time, however slowly, and sometimes unfortunately die. Therefore, the number of accessions in a genebank will vary with time.

Accession records flagged as historical represent samples that no longer physically exist in the genebank, but you can sometimes use their passport data to identify related material that is still available in another genebank or under another name.

Overview of accessions

Data providers to Genesys currently make available passport data on over 4,000,000 accessions. The summary number of accessions across species, provenance, legal status, etc. is available at Overview of accessions

By clicking on the number of accessions in any category, Genesys narrows the search to the category you selected and updates the summary information displayed. The filters you have applied in your search are displayed at the top of the page. You can delete them there by clicking on the little “x” after the filter you want to change.

Once you have finalized your search, you can switch over to the List of accessions to explore individual records, or have a look at the Map of accession localities.

List of accessions

The List of accessions provides access to individual accession records. The contents of the list depends on the filtering criteria. The filters you have applied are again displayed at the top of the page. To change the filtering criteria use the Filtering panel to the left. If you’re still seeing too many matches, consider using the Overview of accessions  to narrow your search. You can only download up to 300,000 records.

Map of accession localities

The Map of accession localities shows you where the original samples of accessions were collected. Not all accessions have mappable coordinates, unfortunately, so the number of dots on the map will usually be smaller than the total number of accessions in your search. The coordinates of matching accessions can be downloaded as a KML file.

How do I search for accessions?

Accession passport data on Genesys follows and extends the commonly used Multi-Crop Passport Descriptors (MCPDv2.1) list. You can filter your search using any of these descriptors, using the panel to the left. Genesys will return records that match all the filters you specify.

Text search

We enforce strict rules to ensure only valid entries are accepted into the Genesys database. Some data are stored as codes instead of text. For example, a reference to Mexico in the “Country of collecting” field, say, is stored as the ISO country code MEX. When filtering “Country of collecting” for Mexico, therefore, Genesys searches for the code MEX. However, when using the text search, Genesys will look for the string “Mexico”. It will find it in the “Country of collecting” field, but it may find it elsewhere in the accession record as well.

The text search allows you to do a broad search of the database, as your search phrase can appear anywhere in the record. It is a convenient mechanism to begin your search, and then start applying filters with specific values, from the Overview page or from the Filtering panel.

Excluding matches

Genesys will search for the value you provide for a filter, and these values are prefixed by the “+” symbol. Filtering for rice accessions shows that many are maintained by the IRRI genebank, for example, but you may want to exclude IRRI accessions from the search. By toggling the “+” symbol to “-”, you are instructing Genesys that the results must exclude the specified value:

The excluded PHL001 is displayed at the top of the page when this change is applied:

My list of selected accessions

As you navigate through Genesys, you can flag accessions of interest by putting them on your List of selected accessions (click on “Add to my list”). From there, you can download passport data of the selected accessions and file a request for selected material with the holding genebanks.

You can initiate the request process by clicking on “Request material”. Genesys will inform you which accessions may be requested directly from Genesys and which you can only request by contacting the holding genebank directly.

Requesting material from genebanks

Each participating genebank decides whether they will allow requests from Genesys. Even so, access to material will be subject to the specific distribution policies of the genebank, national legislation and international rules of germplasm exchange. 

Genesys facilitates the submission of germplasm requests to genebanks for consideration in the context of their distribution policies.

Data providers to Genesys

Genesys is not a genebank and we do not hold PGRFA. Genesys brings together the databases of some of the world’s largest genebanks and PGRFA networks. Genesys is possible because of the work and effort of our partners. The List of data providers shows partners that currently share their data on Genesys.

Individual genebanks, research institutes and PGR networks are welcome to join current data providers and publish their collection information on Genesys.

Data provided through Genesys remains the intellectual property of the data provider. The Terms and Conditions of Use specify how third parties may use the data.

How can I become a data provider?

Genesys welcomes partners from all across the crop genebank 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 as necessary, and will provide the utilities for making additions and updates, including images, subsets and C&E datasets.