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Title: Azerbaijan
Author: Jeremy Cherfas
Date: 18 August 2016
Format: snippet
# Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan is registered as the country of origin for 15,319 accessions in Genesys. Institutes in Azerbaijan list 10,879 accessions in Genesys.
Wheat comprises the largest crop (2742 accessions), with a large number of cotton accessions (1482 accessions) too. The country is an important area for fruit and berry crops and their wild relatives.
## *Ex-situ* conservation
The main holders of PGRFA are affiliated with the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS) and the Ministry of Agriculture. The Genetic Resources Institute of ANAS houses the national genebank and coordinates activities on PGRFA.
More than 13,900 accessions are maintained in 34 collections, divided roughly equally between seed banks and field collections. According to the country information system, holdings include 2,100 accessions of crop wild relatives and 2,365 landraces and farmer varieties. Not all of these are formally conserved either *ex-situ* or on farm, although many are still being grown by farmers.
Collecting missions have added to the amount of PGRFA being conserved, particularly of landraces and farmers varieties, and further collecting missions are planned for priority genepools.
## On-farm conservation
Individual farmers maintain collections for their own interest. For example, in Astara there is a farmer who has more than 20 varieties of paddy rice, while in Khanlar a farmers grows some 80 local grape varieties. These and other farmer collections are maintaining PGRFA, although there is no formal system for the management of on-farm conservation. Such a system is a priority of the national programme on PGRFA.
## Policies
Azerbaijan is a Party to the International Treaty. The National Programme on Plant Genetic Resources is included in the National Strategies and Action Plans on Biodiversity.
A 2011 law "Conservation and Sustainable Use of Crop Genetic Resources" declares that landraces are national properties protected by the law.
## Information systems
An Information Center and information system holds a database that stores an inventory of PGRFA. Some collections continue to add information about their holdings to complete the central database, which is also updated periodically. A national network on PGR documentation supports the gathering and sharing of information.
# AC newsletter 01
## New project: linking phenotypes to accessions
The Trust has prepared a project proposal that will make life much easier for plant breeders by connecting the wealth of characterization and evaluation data to details of genebank accessions. The Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) in Germany has given the project a very favourable initial reception.
At the moment, researchers generate large amounts of data when they undertake seed multiplication, accession regeneration and screening, among other activities. While this information is useful to the researchers concerned, it could be crucially important to other researchers working on the same crops or problems. The difficulty is that the results of phenotypic characterisation is often not connected to the genetic resources that were characterised.
One difficulty in making phenotypic characterisation more widely available is that the data can be much more complex and multi-layered than, say, genotypic data. Another is that the same material can often be identified in different ways by different institutions. Finally, the few genebanks that do share their phenotypic datasets, do so using different structures and formats for their data.
The new project will focus on the latter two problems. It will promote the widespread adoption of permanent unique identifiers (PUID) for genebank accessions and it will ensure that metadata are collected for available phenotypic datasets, thus accurately describing the underlying structure of the dataset. This in turn will help information providers to improve the quality of their primary data.
Making phenotypic data available alongside genomic data, and linking both to a specific accession, will greatly increase the value of the information compiled by [DivSeek](http://www.divseek.org) as it seeks to unlock the potential of crop diversity stored in genebanks around the globe. It will also be an important contribution to the Multilateral System established under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Reosurces for Food and Agriculture.
While we await confirmation that BLE will fund the project, we are confident that we will go ahead and will complete the initial phase by early 2018.
# AC newsletter 01
## Welcome aboard EMBRAPA
Readers may have seen the announcement after the Crop Trust pledging conference that Brazil is keen to strengthen its relationship with the Trust and with the global system.
To that end, Genesys is working closely with Embrapa, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, to ensure that data from [Alelo](http://alelobag.cenargen.embrapa.br), the Brazilian genetic resources database, is available through Genesys.
Embrapa's long-term collection covers about 120,000 accessions of 222 genera. The active genebanks of the country as a whole contain about 300,000 accessions.[^1] Bringing even a part of these into Genesys will be a significant enlargement of its value to users.
[^1]: Nass Luciano Lourenço, Sigrist Mário Sérgio, Ribeiro Cláudia Silva da Costa, Reifschneider Francisco José Becker. Genetic resources: the basis for sustainable and competitive plant breeding. Crop Breed. Appl. Biotechnol. [Internet]. 2012 Dec [cited 2016 July 28] ; 12( spe ): 75-86. Available from: [http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1984-70332012000500009&lng=en](http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1984-70332012000500009&lng=en).
Title: Malaysia
Author: Jeremy Cherfas
Date: 18 August 2016
Format: snippet
# Malaysia
Malaysia is registered as the country of origin for 6361 accessions in Genesys.
## *Ex-situ* conservation
The Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) operates two genebanks, in Seberang Perai, Penang, and Serdang, Selangor. The latter is in the process of becoming the national genebank. Other institutes maintain collections of species of interest, often as field genebanks. Collections include rice, fruits, medicinal plants, biopesticidal plants, ornamental plants and underutilized species.
MARDI's genebanks contain about 13,000 accessions of rice and 2,000 accessions of 69 vegetable species.
Collecting missions by MARDI, the Department of Agriculture and the World Vegetable Center over the past few years have succeeded in adding 1170 accessions of 54 species to the various seed and field genebanks.
## On-farm conservation
A project funded by the Global Environment Facility of the United Nations Environment Programme considerably strengthened on-farm conservation in Malaysia. The project focused on fruit trees in six sites and included community-based management, documentation and characterization of traditional varieties and the role of fruit trees in nutrition and incomes. (See project report at [Tropical Fruit Trees](http://www.bioversityinternational.org/research-portfolio/conservation-use-of-bananas-tree-crops/tropical-fruit-trees/))
## Policies
Malaysia is a Party to the International Treaty. The country adopted a National Strategies and Action Plans on Agricultural Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation, revised in 2012. The NSAP includes priorities for collecting missions to conserve threatened PGRFA.
## Information systems
Malaysia implemented a National Information Sharing Mechanism for PGRFA. Data are updated frequently and make use of standardized formats. In addition Malaysia has also developed other information systems to support conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA, including [AgrobIS](http://agrobis.mardi.gov.my/about_us.php) for rice, fruits, vegetables and herbs.
# AC newsletter 01
## A revamped website
The Genesys website is undergoing a facelift and, more importantly, the way it works behind the scenes is being significantly improved.
"Over time, as we have added new features to make Genesys more useful, the site has become a little disorganised," said Matija Obreza, who is leading the revamp. "So we are going back and rethinking how we present the information."
The goal, Matija says, it to make the experience of looking for, finding and then ordering germplasm of interest as easy and seamless as possible.
So far the redesign has focussed on the design of the user interface and on making the content more accessible. New content and guides on how to use Genesys will also be prepared.
Pages now present more information, more attractively. Accessions can be filtered on multiple criteria simply by checking a box. Visitors can see images, where appropriate, passport data and information about the accession and its collecting history. Presentation of information about institutes has also been clarified and improved.
Progress is good, and the new website should be ready for launch in October.
# AC newsletter 01
## Case study: bananas
Max Ruas, Bioversity, France
[Max Ruas](http://www.bioversityinternational.org/about-us/who-we-are/staff-bios/single-details-bios/ruas-max/) is an information system analyst at Bioversity, a CGIAR research center, in Montpellier, France.
My role with Genesys is primarily as a data provider. I have supplied Genesys with information on accessions from around the world – everywhere from the Bioversity International Transit Centre (ITC) in Belgium to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland, Australia. First, I helped to aggregate genetic resources information on _Musa_ species onto a single platform, the [MUSA Germplasm Information System (MGIS)](http://www.crop-diversity.org/mgis/). This information was then made available through Genesys. Genesys has improved the quality of the information that data providers now make available. For example, Genesys motivated us as data providers to agree on common standards for data, making it much easier for people to use the portal. People can now retrieve the information they seek in a straightforward manner. They can also find interesting graphics on the material held in various *Musa* genebanks. Genesys also allows us to perform further checks for gaps and errors in the data, in addition to the checks we do on MGIS. Uploading our data to Genesys allows us to easily locate any gaps or coding errors and correct them. Genesys has become the first port of call for anyone looking for information related to plant genetic resources. Data providers, like our partners, gain more visibility, and through Genesys their collections are available to more people.
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