User-friendly interfaces that require very little computer skill have been designed for the electronical management of germplasm information. Among these is the Caribbean Seed and Germplasm Resources Information Network - CSEGRIN, developed by the Italian funded FAO project `Improved Seed Production: CARICOM Countries and Suriname'.
Officially released in November 1994, CSEGRIN is presently implemented through several workstations located at the Ministries of Agriculture, the `Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute - CARDI' and the `Interamerican Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture - IICA' offices of the CARICOM countries and Suriname. Access to the Network was also provided to the `Centro Internacional de la Papa - CIP', the `Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical - CIAT', the `International Plant Genetic Resources Institute - IPGRI', the `Centro AgronÛmico Tropical de InvestigaciÛn y EnseÒanza - CATIE', the `International Institute for Tropical Agriculture - IITA', the `Centro Internacional para el Mejoramiento del MaÌz y Trigo - CIMMYT' and the `Centre de CoopÈration Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le DÈveloppement - CIRAD' in Martinique.
In July 1995, the `Caribbean Commitee for the Management of Plant Genetic Resources - CMPGR' endorsed the use of CSEGRIN and adopted it as the documentation system of the region's genebanks at the Caribbean Consultation Meeting for PGRs organized by the FAO `International Conference and Programme on Plant Genetic Resources - ICPPGR' in Barbados. Further to this endorsment, the `Subregional Meeting on Plant Genetic Resources for Central America, MÈxico and the Caribbean', held at IICA's headquarters in August 1995, recommended the expansion of CSEGRIN to include the countries of the Central American isthmus.
CSEGRIN is a powerful and user-friendly electronic environment designed to improve germplasm and variety exchange, to facilitate management of plant genetic resources, enhance communication among breeders, seed technologists and agricultural extensionists, facilitate standardized information access to users and reduce unnecessary redundancy of research efforts.
The current tri-lingual (English, Spanish and French) 2.6x version of CSEGRIN integrates three main components:
|A database management system programme that handles crop descriptor lists, germplasm passport, characterization and evaluation data as well as seed production, processing and quality control data;|
|a database graphic component that links images (drawings and photographs) to the main databases; and|
|a communication module which provides fast automatic data transfer procedures within the network.|
Supported by a detailed help on-line, which covers more than 200 specific and 45 general topics, the intuitive interface allows even computer-illiterate users to easily navigate through the different subjects covered by CSEGRIN. The extensive use of push buttons and multiple choice answers has been adopted in order to minimize typing inputs and significantly reduce chances for erroneously spelled data input.
Network linkage among the workstations is made either through ordinary telephone lines or mailed diskettes to/from a central Data Bank Station, AMBIONET, which is located at the `Caribbean Documentation Centre of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean UN ECLAC' in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Network data storage and communication support is provided both locally, at each working station by CSEGRIN, and at the data bank station within the AMBIONET environment.
CSEGRIN is structured to handle efficiently up to 961 different crop descriptor lists, 225 descriptors per crop, 1,000 attributes per descriptor, hundreds of thousands of records for each of the topics covered, more than 1,000 different country codes, 10,000 institutions (users) per country.
Revised IBPGR descriptor lists of twenty-five crops, namely, Anthurium, avocado, bean, Capsicum spp (old & new descriptor list), cashew, cassava, citrus, coconut, Colocasia spp, cotton, cowpea, Cucurbita spp, groundnut, maize, mango, Musa spp, oil palm, papaya, pigeon pea, pineapple, rice, soyabean, sweet potato, Xanthosoma spp and yam have already been input and are available for a straightforward germplasm characterization/evaluation. More than 280 colour photographs and drawings are made available to support characterization and evaluation descriptors.
Passport and characterization/evaluation data have been so far gathered from the Ministries of Agriculture of the CARICOM countries, CARDI, CIP, CIAT, CATIE-IPGRI and USDA-ARS and are available to the CSEGRIN users. These include: Cucurbita 331 accessions, sweet potato 2025 accessions, bean more than 29,200 accessions, cassava more than 3,800 accessions, cowpea 12,701, groundnut 9,390 accessions, pepper more than 650 accessions.
Minimum hardware requirements for the execution of all the features of CSEGRIN consist of an Intel(c) 80386 or higher microprocessor, super video graphic adapter, hard disk drive capacity of at least 50 Mbytes, a compatible Hewlett Packard Deskjet 1200C (or higher color printer) or Laserjet III (or higher printer) with scalable fonts, a full duplex modem. All CSEGRIN components have been developed in FOXPRO for MS DOS vs. 2.6a Microsoft(c).
For further information please contact Mr. Menini, Service Chief, AGPS.