BGN 19: The European barley database of the ECP/GR

The European barley database of the ECP/GR

Helmut Knupffer
Zentralinstitüt für Genetik und Kulturoflanzenforschung
Corrensstraße 3, DDR-4325
Gatersleben, Germany


The European Barley Database (EBDB) of the European Cooperative Programme for the Conservation and Exchange of Crop Genetic Resources (ECP/GR) has been maintained at the Zentralinstitut für Genetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung (ZIGuK) of the Academy of Sciences of the German Democratic Republic at Gatersleben since 1985. The third meeting of the ECP/GR Barley Working Group (Gatersleben, 18-20 April 1989) recommended to widely publicize information about the EBDB among barley breeders and researchers.

The EBDB has the following objectives: (1) to catalogue the barley germplasm in European genebanks; (2) to provide information on the barley germplasm on request; (3) to facilitate the identifaction of duplicates in order to rationalize the maintenance and evaluation of the material in genebanks; (4) to identify geographical gaps in European collections as a basis for further collecting strategies.

Present state of the EBDB

The EBDB is maintained under the database management system dBASE II. It contains passport data of 55,369 accessions from 35 barley collections in 26 countries, the largest collections being Gatersleben (10,266 accessions), Cambridge, U.K. (9,458), Braunschweig, F.R.G. (8,274), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (5,335), and Wageningen, Netherlands (2,912). In addition, information on 5142 barley cultivars and lines extracted from Arias et al. (1983) is incorporated for reference. Data on the following descriptors are stored in the EBDG: EBL Number (unique identifier in the EBDB), Genebank, Accession Number, Donor, Donor's Number, Seasonality, Row Number, Country of Origin, Accession Name, Breeder, Other Numbers, Species, Subspecies, Convarietas, Varietas, Subvarietas, Expedition/Collector, Collector's Number, Province, Site, Latitude, Longitude, Altitude. Data on Country of Origin, Genebank, Donor, Breeder, and Expedition/Collector are stored as codes or acronyms.

The European Barley List (EBL) (Knupffer, 1987) presents the barley germplasm in three parts:

Part 1 (23,418 accessions): cultivars, lines and special resources of Hordeum vulgare L., sorted alphabetically by accession name.

Part 2 (29,166 accessions): collected (primitive) material and unnamed accessions of H. vulgare,, sorted by country of origin and geographical information (province/site).

Part 3 (2,785 accessions): wild species of Hordeum, sorted by scientific name, country of origin and geographical information.

A survey of the provenance and botanical composition of the material documented in the EBDB is given in Knupffer (1988).

Access to information from the EBDB

Information from the EBDB is open to genebanks, breeders, and scientists free of charge. The complete contents of the database is available on magnetic media (preferably diskettes) and in printed form (European Barley List, some copies available from IBPGR: Mr. P.M. Perret, IBPGR, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, I-00100 Rome, Italy). Searches in the database will be conducted on request; the resulting data are provided as printouts or on diskettes. Common types of inquiries are "Print a list of all two-rowed winter barleys originating from the Far East" or "From where could I obtain living seeds of the cultivars and strains listed below?"

If data are requested on diskettes, an appropriate number of empty diskettes should be sent to the EBDB in advance. Data are available on 5.25" MS-DOS diskettes (360 or 720 kBytes) in ASCII fixed format files or as dBASE III files. The complete database occupies approximately 20 MBytes. Please contact the author of this note for more details and the required number of diskettes.

Future development of the database

As soon as appropriate hardware becomes available, the database will be transferred from dBASE II to dBASE III. The following activities will be undertaken:

  1. Updating of the EBDB. Correction and completion of data, inclusion of new accessions.

  2. Registration of additional data from genebanks, e.g., summary information on characterization and evaluation (number of accessions investigated per trait, ranges, histograms, etc.).

  3. Identification of duplicates in named accessions. The aim is a rationalization of genebanks' efforts on the basis of a list of duplicates with indication of a "best representative" of each group of duplicates and a safety duplicate of each unique accession. The identification of duplicates is illustrated in Knupffer (1988).

  4. Establishment of links with other databases on barley germplasm; implementation of a worldwide network.

More detailed information on the EBDB is presented in the Reports of the Barley Working Group meetings (1983, 1986, 1989) and of a Barley Workshop (1985), which are available from the IBPGR, and in Knupffer et al. (1987), Knupffer (1988, 1989).


Arias, G., L. Reiner, A. Penger, and A. Mangstl. 1983. Directory of barley cultivars and lines. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart.

Knupffer, H. (compiler). 1987. European Barley List. Vol. 1. 82 pp., Vol. 2: 829 pp. Zentralinst. Genetik u. Kulturpflanzenforsch., Gatersleben.

Knupffer, H. 1988. The European Barley Database of the ECP/GR: an introduction. Kulturpflanze 36:135-162.

Knupffer, H. 1989. The European Barley Database of ECP/GR. FAO/IBPGR Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter, in press.

Knupffer, H., C.O. Lehmann, and F. Scholz. 1987. Barley genetic resources in European genebanks - The European Barley Database. In Barley Genetics V:75-82.

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