Activated Genebank Network

The AGENT project will establish a network of actively cooperating European genebanks and thus initiate a process of conversion: the partner genebanks will transition from a status of rather passive seed repository into active bio-digital resource centres. This is what we refer to as the ‘Activated GEnebank NeTwork (AGENT)’.

Historic characterisation and evaluation (C&E) data will be digitised and integrated between genebanks on the basis of ‘bridging material’ – genebank accessions stored in duplication at multiple genebanks, mostly by exchange of material in the past. Partner genebanks will purify and substantiate material with dense genotypic information, hence establishing ‘precision collections’, which will be used for systematic, coordinated, standardised and sustainable accumulation of phenotype information related to biotic stress. A selected sub-set (‘sub-precision collection’) will be exchanged among partners after defining European mega-environments, and evaluated for its abiotic stress tolerance. All newly generated data will be used to establish methods of genomic prediction for wheat and barley accession in European (and international) genebanks provided with dense genotype information.

The objectives of AGENT are being exemplified using barley and wheat. Concepts and protocols established for these species can then be easily transferred to datasets existing for other crop GenRes collections, thus generating impact for holdings of many crop species far beyond the project boundaries.