|DAY RUBENSTEIN, KELLY|
Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/2/2005
Publication Date: 3/27/2006
Citation: Day Rubenstein, K., Smale, M., Widrlechner, M.P. 2006. Demand for Genetic Resources and the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System. Crop Science. 46:1021-1031
Interpretive Summary: Genebank managers and administrators involved in funding the operations of genebanks require accurate information about demand for plant germplasm and how it is used. Such information can help make informed decisions about funding levels and the allocation of resources among different operations. Information compiled in this paper examines patterns of germplasm use for one of the world's largest national genebank networks, the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS), coordinated by the USDA's Agricultural Research Service. Data on ten major crops, gathered directly from the NPGS internal database and from researchers who requested and used NPGS germplasm, were annalyzed to reveal patterns of germplasm usage for the period 1995-1999. Data were collected on the characteristics of NPGS users (both in the U.S. and throughout the world), such as institutional affiliation and discipline, the types of germplasm requested, the purposes of requests, and when applicable, the specific traits that users sought. From these findings, we were able to estimate the utlility of the germplasm provided by NPGS, its secondary use, and projected future demand for collections. We also wanted to explore relationships between the utility of germplasm samples and the descriptive data that can accompany samples. To this end, we tested a linear-regression model that suggests that accompanying data make germplasm more useful. We concluded that demand for NPGS germplasm has been substantial and that the germplasm serves a broad range of research needs. Utilization rates were higher than suggested by other studies. Low and middle-income countries made realtively greater use of NPGS germplasm than did high-income countries. And finally, demand for NPGS collections is likely to increase, especially among users in low and middle-income countries. These findings should provide new insights for more efficient administration of genebanks and for targeting future investments.
Technical Abstract: Although genetic resources have strong public-goods characteristics, public genebanks often have struggled for adequate funding. A review of economic literature on the value of plant genetic indicated that more information is needed about germplasm use. The data complied in this paper examine patterns of germplasm use for one of the world's largest national genebank networks, the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS). Data on ten major crops, gathered directly from within the NPGS and from end-users, revealed patterns of usage of germplasm during the period from 1995 to 1999. Data were collected describing the characteristics of NPGS users, the types of germplasm requested, the purpose of requests, and when applicable, the specific traits sought. From these findings, we estimated the utility of distributed materials, their secondary use, and projected future demand from NPGS resources. To explore relationships between the usefulness of germplasm samples and accompanying data in a more systematic fashion, we estimated a linear regression. The regression model suggests that accompanying data make germplasm more useful. We conclude that demand for NPGS resources was substantial and came from broad range of users. Utilization rates were higher than suggested by past studies. Low and middle-income countries made greater use of NPGS resources, relatively speaking, than did high-income countries. Finally, demand for NPGS resources is likely to increase, especially among users in low and middle-income countries.