Taxonomic Information on Cultivated Plants in GRIN-Global

History of GRIN-Global Taxonomy

GRIN-Global taxonomic data were originally extracted from the Nomenclature File of the former Plant Exploration and Taxonomy Laboratory (PETL). The origin of the Nomenclature File and its relationship to the former Plant Introduction Office (PIO) since 1898 were described at the First International Symposium on Cultivated Plants (Terrell, 1986a). The purpose of the File from the beginning was to provide correct scientific names for the plants introduced into the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS).

Many germplasm introductions were received by exchange with foreign institutions, and others were collected throughout the world by American plant explorers. All the introductions accessioned through the PIO were assigned consecutive Plant Inventory (PI) numbers and distributed to the appropriate specialist or germplasm site. Other introductions went directly to germplasm stations and many were later processed by the PIO.

For each accession, a determination of the correct taxonomic nomenclature was made by taxonomists maintaining the Nomenclature File. While most scientific names in the File were the result of plant introductions, many names, mainly of economic plants, were added by USDA taxonomists for other reasons. Prior to GRIN-2, the version of GRIN initiated at the time of the First Symposium, the PIO accession data and PETL nomenclature data were in separate card files. The transfer of the Nomenclature File to GRIN-2 was completed in 1987, thus making this taxonomy directly accessible to the entire NPGS community.

Since the assimilation of the Nomenclature File into GRIN, GRIN-Global taxonomic data have continued to expand in response to the needs of NPGS, the Agricultural Research Service, and other agricultural agencies. An extensive publication on world economic plants was completed from GRIN data in 1999, with a second revision in 2013, thereby further extended the coverage of GRIN taxonomic data to all plants in international commerce. This publication, entitled World Economic Plants: A Standard Reference, may be obtained from CRC Press. Data from this publication may be queried on the internet here as well.

From a previous gopher server, the online interface for GRIN taxonomic data was developed and implemented in 1994, enabling users from around the world to access this information easily and efficiently. GRIN-Global taxonomic data can thus be queried by scientific name (family, genus, or species), common name, economic use, or geographical distribution. Specialized searches on GRIN-Global data relating to economic plants, crop wild relatives, rare plants, noxious weeds, families and genera, or seed associations are also possible. Since GRIN-Global taxonomic data have been available online, usage has grown at a nearly exponential rate. Currently over 40,000 reports per day from GRIN-Global taxonomic data are output to users and search engines from around the world as a result of these queries.

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.