Today the AgTrials project (www.agtrials.org) participated in the 1st International e-Conference on Germplasm Data Interoperability. The meeting was all about linking germplasm data between different applications with the goal of supporting research and development related to plant science and crop improvement. The discussion and the presentations focused on strategies for data interoperability, visions of linked germplasm data, data providers perspectives on current status and use of data and metadata for germplasm, infrastructures for germplasm data, and standards and metadata. Check out the website for the E conference. It was an innovative way to do an online conference (at least for me, as I had never used Google Hangout). All of the presentations are available and the discussion was recorded on YouTube. People that are interested in some of the different developments related to bio-informatics, plants and crop germplasm and biodiversity information can find some of the latest developments by major players in this field.
The AgTrials presentation focused on efforts to link bio informatics systems and our experience with metadata. AgTrials has a critical link with the CropOntology initiatives of the Generation Challenge Program and Bioversity. Metadata on traits and variables measured during an evaluation trial are standardized according to the CropOntology protocol. AgTrials is also making dynamic connections to the Agricultural Modeling Inter-comparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP).these links are made by mapping variables and metadata between systems and by developing application programming interfaces that allow the system to talk to each other. More work is needed on linking is the cultivars that are tested to gene bank and genomic information. Realizing the potential of crop improvement will require much more integration to link genotype to phenotype. In 2014, the AgTrials initiative is committed to linking our efforts to other groups that are part of the bio informatics ecosystem.