Submitted to: Acta Horticulture Proceedings
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 1995
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Communication about economically important vascular plants depends directly on accurate scientific names and without such names communication about these plants is hindered. The search for germplasm in the National Plant Germplasm System using the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) is initiated through the scientific name. This paper reviews the history and current status of GRIN. Taxonomic data in GRIN continue to be refined and expanded including scientific names and common names, literature citations, distribution records, and most recently economic uses. These data have previously been available electronically only to workers within the National Plant Germplasm System, but are now available over Internet to workers worldwide. Those routinely accessing the GRIN taxonomic data for information on the nomenclature of economic plants include; USDA- APHIS, USDA-NRCS (formerly SCS), USDA-AMS, Association of Official Seed Analysts, and the Plant Genome Project.
The National Plant Germplasm System of the Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture maintains a computer database, the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), for the management of and as a source of information on its 450,000 germplasm accessions. The taxonomic portion of GRIN provides the classification and nomenclature for these genetic resources and many other economic plants on a worldwide basis. Included in GRIn taxonomy are scientific names for 18,000 genera (14,000 accepted and 48,000 species or infraspecific ranks (32,00 accepted) with common names, distributions, and taxonomic references. Generally recognized standards for abbreviating author's names and botanical literature have been adopted in GRIN. The scientific names are verified, in accordance with the international rules of botanical nomenclature, by taxonomists of the Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory using available taxonomic literature and consultations with taxonomic specialist. Included in GRIn taxonomy are federal and state regulated noxious weeds and federally and internationally listed threatened and endangered plants. Major renovations to GRIN hardware and software will be completed during 1994 and provide significant improvement, particularly facilitating access to GRIN data over the Internet.