A room filled with concentrated plant senior scientists and IT personnel, dark grey skies outside the window and a small chaos of cords and screens. At NordGen in Alnarp, Sweden, the concentrated individuals attend a course to learn more about a database management system called GRIN-Global.
“It’s a quite complicated work and very intense days, so I guess we’re all a bit tired now”, says Martin Reisinger who is leading the course.
Martin Reisinger comes from Maryland and is a database consultant contracted by USDA, who, along with the international organisation Crop Trust, developed GRIN-Global – the system that eventually will replace NordGen’s present system called SESTO which is becoming outdated.
“There are a few different kinds of systems for the data management that gene banks need. But we made a thorough analysis of which alternatives that could be most beneficial for NordGen and reached the conclusion that GRIN-Global was the best alternative. Many other gene banks use this system and there is a well-developed support if we should need any help” says Jan Svensson, Senior Scientist at NordGen, working with the transition from SESTO to GRIN-Global.
Data management systems are important for gene banks of many different reasons. They can store information about which seeds we have, how many we have, where they’re from, when they were collected, which traits they carry and how often they are sent to researchers, breeders and other who need them. Without a data management system, we would work in blindfold.
“If gene banks put so much energy on growing, harvesting and preserving all these different crops, it’s crucial that they know as much as possible about them. You could keep track on this with pen and paper but GRIN-Global is much more efficient. It beats Excel spreadsheets” Martin Reisinger says joyously before he returns to the chaos of cords, screens and concentrated personnel in the winter grey conference room of NordGen.