Plant genetic resources (GenRes) hold the key for adapting crops to a changing climate which we are increasingly facing worldwide. In order to facilitate the educated selection and utilisation of GenRes in breeding and agriculture, a systematic effort towards the identification and incorporation of these valuable resources is of crucial importance.

While first genebanks were established as early as in the mid-1920s to preserve the genetic diversity of crops for future generations, a total of about 7.4 million accessions are stored in more than 1,750 genebanks across the world today. However, as procedures for managing the material are not always following international standards yet, the true potential of the stored resources for breeding and research often remains unknown. Large amounts of invaluable genetic resources have been exchanged between institutions around the world, leading to redundancies between the collections.

These unanswered questions set the basis for research in AGENT:

How many independent accessions are needed to represent the global genomic diversity of a crop species?
How many duplicates should be maintained in genebanks?
How do we track the identity of genebank accessions while maintaining their genetic integrity?
How do we efficiently select the most suitable accessions for different purposes?
What is the most systematic approach to maximise the value and use of GenRes?
Which bioinformatics and database infrastructure is needed to facilitate data mining of global GenRes collections in context of other information?
How do we capture climate change-independent (dis-)appearance of diversity?