Taxonomic Information on Cultivated Plants in GRIN-Global

Basis of GRIN-Global Taxonomic Decisions

National Germplasm Resources Laboratory National Germplasm Resources Laboratory botanists are responsible for maintaining the taxonomic and nomenclatural integrity of the scientific names in GRIN-Global. NGRL maintains an active collection of monographic and floristic literature from throughout the world to assist our activities. Through ongoing research into current taxonomic literature, consultations with taxonomic botanists, and systematic reviews of GRIN scientific names for various plant families, the most recent taxonomy and nomenclature are incorporated into GRIN-Global. For major crop genera, GRIN-Global taxonomic work may often involve interaction with other USDA scientists for those crops and their Crop Germplasm Committees (CGC).

The taxonomic and nomenclatural decisions accepted in GRIN-Global are based on various considerations. GRIN-Global family taxonomy is based, with a few more recent exceptions, on the APG-IV classification (Chase et al., 2016). Taxonomic decisions at lesser ranks ideally reflect the views of recognized taxonomic specialists for various plant groups as determined from published literature, such as monographs, revisions, or contributed treatments to floras, or from direct consultation for review of GRIN-Global taxonomic information. Evidence from molecular phylogenetic studies, which is particularly relevant to decisions regarding generic taxonomy but seldom affects species-level decisions, is also taken into account. Evaluating any proposed changes from such studies in relation to existing GRIN-Global generic taxonomy, while nonetheless challenging, is guided by an assessment of the range of evidence presented, including the completeness of sampling, and the extent to which recognized specialists are participants in the underlying research or have embraced its conclusions. When a specialist opinion or specialist-generated literature is lacking, taxonomic decisions, particularly at species level, are based on the floristic literature. Floras are generally assigned greater weight than checklists, and modern floras are given greater consideration than older ones in preparing the GRIN treatment.

Other considerations being equal, when there are differences in taxonomic treatment or nomenclatural disputes, the GRIN-Global treatment would generally be guided by current usage, with some evaluation of the effect of a change to our users and to the internal consistency of our treatment. In serving the agricultural scientists of NPGS, it is especially necessary to consider usage among agronomists and horticulturalists in addition to that of taxonomists. A requirement, however, is that all nomenclature adhere to the rules of the International Code of Nomenclature (McNeill et al., 2012).

Nomenclatural problems or discrepancies that appear and are unresolved in the literature often require that original references be consulted. Species records now have a protologue link field that we are using to add links to publicly available digitized works, such as those available through the Biodiversity Heritage Library. In addition, the location of the NGRL on the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, about 24 km northeast of Washington, D.C., also facilitates this work by providing access to several excellent libraries for historical and current botanical literature, including the National Agricultural Library (NAL), Library of Congress (LC), Smithsonian Institution (SI), and University of Maryland. The wealth of online botanical resources has now become indispensable for this purpose, especially those resources made available through the Biodiversity Heritage Library, the Digital Library del Real Jardín Botánico, the Gallica Digital Library, and Google Books.

CIMMYT Germplasm Policy (excerpts)

CIMMYT holds and manages its germplasm as an international public good and is committed to its widespread and facilitated diffusion and use to achieve the maximum possible access, scale, scope of impact, and sharing of benefits for the poor, especially maize and wheat farmers and consumers in developing countries. To safeguard its international public goods character, and by legal obligation with FAO and the Governing Body of the International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), CIMMYT germplasm for use in food and agriculture is transferred using the Standard Materials Transfer Agreement (SMTA) of the ITPGRFA or equivalent Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) in the case of species that are not listed in the Annex 1 of the ITPGRFA.

Distributions to fulfill requests for repatriation of subsamples of germplasm collections to a country or community of origin, especially following natural or man-made catastrophes, are considered a high priority.

The CIMMYT germplasm research for development focus is on (i) conservation and the effective use of genetic diversity and (ii) the further development and deployment of CIMMYT germplasm for the benefit of improved and more sustainable food and nutrition security, poverty reduction, and environmental sustainability.

CIMMYT strives to make CIMMYT held germplasm, as well as the data and other outputs resulting from its germplasm research and development activities, openly available and accessible for research, breeding and training for food and agriculture, in accordance with the ITPGRFA, the CGIAR Intellectual Assets Principles, the CGIAR Open Access and Data Management Policy and CIMMYT's Intellectual Assets Policy. Germplasm availability is made public through the web, field days etc. and access is free of charge or at minimal cost. CIMMYT may apply additional conditions to the transfer of germplasm under development from its breeding and research programs in support of accelerated use, data sharing, and impact assessment.

CIMMYT acquires and distributes all seed samples in accordance with relevant international and national regulations, such as phytosanitary/quarantine laws, ITPGRFA or CBD, and national laws for genetic resources access, transgenic status, and other considerations. Germplasm imported, exported, or acquired from quarantined regions within the same country must pass through the applicable quarantine processes implemented by an accredited CIMMYT Seed Health Unit or the importing or exporting countries' dedicated authorities, as well as meeting all necessary regulatory requirements, before acceptance and use by CIMMYT for conservation, breeding, research, and/or dissemination to third parties.

CIMMYT makes no warranties, express or implied, regarding the quality, viability or purity (genetic or mechanical), safety of and/or use of CIMMYT-held germplasm including any warranty of merchantability, or fitness for a particular purpose, including without limitation, production, breeding, crossing, testing, commercialization, or non-infringement of third-party intellectual property.