The Agricultural Knowledge Management Unit of NBPGR was established in 1997 as the ARIS Cell with the objectives of installation and maintenance of local area network (LAN) and connectivity with ARIS network of ICAR. In accordance with the progress of NBPGR, the domain of Unit’s operations has expanded into development & maintenance of NBPGR website, e-mail system, e-governance, etc.
The AKMU of NBPGR is the centre of PGR informatics activities of ICAR. The Unit has developed PGR databases and web portal as a completely in-house activity. The goal of AKMU is to provide easy on-line access to information about the germplasm conserved at the National Genebank located at NBPGR.
The PGR Portal was developed as a completely in-house activity employing the skills, expertise and facilities available at the disposal of AKMU. The Portal was launched on 6th December 2012 by honorable Director General, ICAR and Secretary, DARE Dr. S Ayyappan at a gathering of PCs and PDs of AICRPs at NBPGR. Users can access the web-based PGR Portal at www.nbpgr.ernet.in/pgrportal. The quality of the interphase, speed of the response and ease of search are comparable to any of the PGR portals developed and maintained by CG genebanks or any national genebanks.
It is pertinent to note that no information is made available on the PGR Portal de novo. All the information was already available in the public domain in the form of published catalogues (printed and electronic), proceedings, presentations, research papers, etc. Furthermore, the information available in the PGR Portal is about only those accessions which are conserved in the National Genebank at NBPGR. This was done to ensure supply of the material in case of requests (through NAGS/MTS). Care has been taken to display only such materials whose data correspond across multiple internal databases. As per the recommendation of the National Advisory Board on Management of Genetic Resources, the passport data to be displayed does not include information on villages and district. The passport data accessible by all include accession number, botanical name, collector number/other ID, variety/cultivar name, biological status, and source (only state in case of indigenous collection and country in case of introduction).
The motto of PGR Portal is enhanced utilization through greater access to information. The information provided through the PGR Portal is meant for researchers, farmers, students and policy makers. Anyone from anywhere on the globe can access the web-based PGR Portal. The access to and use of information contained in the PGR Portal is governed by principles of biodiversity conservation and use as well as relevant clauses of the extant intellectual property instruments.
Characterization data include agro-morphological data recorded as per minimum descriptors. Some traits in the characterization data may include preliminary evaluation data such as yield parameters that are useful to the breeders. Evaluation data (displayed in the Portal as an extension of characterization data) is based on trait specific evaluation. As and when characterization activity yields more and more data they will be automatically added to the Portal. Similarly, specific evaluation data will also be added as and when they are available so that breeders can make use of the information. The information on the germplasm accessions available through the PGR Portal is a result of contributions of scientists of NBPGR since its inception. It also reflects numerous collaborative efforts among organizations of National Agricultural Research System of India.
Strengthening of PGR Database
The in-house PGR Database Management System comprising of “Passport, Gene bank and Evaluation Data” was strengthened by adding new records. This included plugging the gaps by retrieving and complementing missing records and corrections/completions in existing records from available resources to the extent possible. The database is now populated with data on ~460,000 indigenous collections (IC), 7,650,000 exotic collections (EC), 3,75,000 gene bank holdings and 90,000 germplasm characterization/evaluation data. The data entry / editing work on all PGR related tables are being carried upon directly in the database. The major stake holders in the PGR database activities viz; germplasm exploration, evaluation, exchange and conservation divisions have been sensitized towards its utilization and contributing their part in the same.
A High-performance server system (Dell Power Edge R910) with 4TB usable Storage for data backup and safety has been procured and installed successfully. In order to boost IT security, connectivity and productivity in the office, a user identity-based Unified Threat Management (UTM) System has also been got installed. The work has been carried out under National Rice Research Database (NRRD) Project. Bureau’s mission-critical applications like Website, PGR Web Portal and other Database(s) are being shifted on the newly procured hardware. With availability of high-end hardware and software, efforts have been initiated to implement database mirroring for increased availability and protection of Bureau’s PGR database.
NBPGR Webmail facility on RedHat 6.0 platform employing open source software Roundcube with iRedAdmin and LDAP v0.1.9 was developed. The webmail was successfully implemented and hosted at NBPGR mailserver. Email facility is accessible from anywhere at https://www.mail.nbpgr.ernet.in. The facility is extended to all the mail users (>200) of NBPGR including researchers from regional stations.
Local Area Network
Maintenance of two series Lan approx. 490 nodes created to connect computers, printers and servers at NBPGR headquarters was carried out as per the following list: Directorate (15), Administration Section (15), Finance and Audit Section (20), DDO (10), Division of Germplasm Evaluation (50), Germplasm Exchange Unit (20), Division of Germplasm Conservation (50), Tissue Culture and Cryo-preservation Unit (30), Division of Plant Quarantine (50), Division of Exploration and Germplasm Collection (50), NRC on DNA Fingerprinting (50), AKMU (50), PG Computer Lab (10), Library (20) and others (50).
Utilization of ex situ collections and climate analogues to adapt to climate change
Changing climatic regimes demand identification of specific prospective genotypes to be fed to the variety development chain. This project is an attempt to link the most vital attributes of the ex situ germplasm collections –agronomic descriptors and geographic origins – with current and future environmental data. Primary outcome is germplasm accessions that are pre-adapted to predicted changes in climate. In the absence of any previous experience, five crops (wheat, pearl millet, chickpea, pigeon pea and sorghum) are selected. In the first year,
- Information on five target crops were mined from NBPGR and relevant global databases
- In all, 10947 sorghum, 9499 wheat, 8220 pearl millet, 6167 pigeon pea and 3293 chickpea accessions were short-listed
- All the 38,126 accessions were geo-referenced and mapped
- Accessions were classified based on the agro-ecological zones, and were categorized in to altitude groups
- Temperature (rabi crops) or temperature and rainfall (kharif crops) values observed over the growing season were attached to the locations
- Insights into the selection of sites from where it is best possible to identify pre-adapted material could be drawn
- Classification of wheat accessions was carried out for the current climate; 9499 geo-referenced accessions were grouped into 834 unique points and 25 clusters and mapped on the wheat cultivation area