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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » National Germplasm Resources Laboratory » Research » Research Project #424577

Research Project: Develop, Deploy, and Operate GRIN-Global, the Information Management System for Plant Genetic Resources

Location: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory

2015 Annual Report

Objective 1: Develop and enhance GRIN-Global with improved features, functions, and linkages to meet customer/client needs for superior user interfaces and to provide the NPGS with expanded capacities to manage genomic, breeding and curatorial information. Objective 2: Deploy and operate GRIN-Global for the genebanks of the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS).

The GRIN-Global software will be enhanced in collaboration with international partners using agreed upon software tools and principles. Short term emphasis will be on improving the features and functions of the Curator Tool that is used by genebank staff, the Administrator Tool that is used by system administrators, and the Public Website used by global researchers. This approach, combined with additional customizations to meet the needs of twenty genebanks in the U.S., will allow ARS to migrate the National Plant Germplasm System from GRIN to GRIN-Global within the first 1-2 years of this project. Efforts can then be expanded to include more long-term enhancements such as expanding the capabilities of the system to curate additional data sets and/or expand collaborations with online molecular and genomic data publishers. All released versions of the software will be made freely available to international partners with ARS providing technical assistance to the maximum extent possible. Training and documentation materials will be developed in a variety of formats to ensure effective transition to, or adoption of, GRIN-Global. The project will provide secure and reliable access to the system by both genebank staff and public users. All hardware and software components of the system will be operated in compliance with, and as approved by, the USDA Certification and Accreditation process for information management systems. The project will also provide a web portal front page to publish information about the USDA National Genetic Resources Programs (NGRP), including valuable animal, microbial, and invertebrate collections. The NGRP page will be displayed in compliance with USDA standards for public web pages. The NGRP page will also serve as a repository for information on the activities of the National Genetic Resources Advisory Council of USDA.

Progress Report
Much of the efforts in FY 2015 involved a security audit for GRIN-Global prior to implementation in the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System. The GRIN-Global development team is partnering with staff in the ARS Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) to complete this assessment. Several potential vulnerabilities were detected in the public website application and those have been mitigated. These security scans are being repeated for the public website, and will also be conducted for the curator tool source code, until the risks are minimized and deemed acceptable for deployment. The GRIN-Global staff continued to assist international partners in learning about or deploying the software. A training session was held on GRIN-Global at the Center for Tropical Agriculture in Cali, Columbia. We also helped the plant germplasm system of the Czech Republic implement GRIN-Global as their collections management system.

1. GRIN is available as worldwide resource 24/7/365. The Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) database was available on a nearly 24/7 basis throughout FY 15. Access to the web pages for GRIN included about 1.7 million visits in calendar year 2014, a slight decrease from 2013. Our statistics also indicated the average visitor spent 7 minutes at the site and viewed more than 17 different pages. As of June 2015 more than 150,000 plant germplasm samples have been distributed from the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System genebanks, most of them requested on the basis of information made available through GRIN. This ensures timely and comprehensive information on the ARS scientific collections are available to researchers worldwide.