DivSeek Host Events in San Diego January 2017

The DivSeek Initiative hosted its annual Roundtable event in San Diego, USA on the 13 January in collaboration with the Earlham Institute, and organized a Workshop on 17 January as part of the Plant and Animal Genome Conference (PAG).

Both of these events provided an opportunity to introduce the DivSeek Working Groups to the DivSeek Partners and wider community.

To date seven Working Groups have been established to address issues of importance to the DivSeek Community. These are:

Working Group 1 - Data Standards for Interoperable Tools

Working Group 2 - Genebank Information Management System

Working Group 3 - Genomics for Genebanks

Working Group 4 - Phenotyping for Seed Diversity

Working Group 5 - Semantics for Harmonizing Trait and Agronomic Data

Working Group 6 - Translational Approaches for Minor and Underutilized Crops

Working Group 7 - FAIR Data

Via the Working Groups, the DivSeek Partners will help to advance the mission of DivSeek. Through the activities of the working groups, DivSeek Partners can form teams, design projects, fund initiatives, gain visibility, generate vitality, and help achieve the goals of the DivSeek initiative. 

During the roundtable event, each Working Group outlined their objectives and aims. You can read more about each Working Group on the DivSeek website (or click here). Working Groups 1 and 5 were also presented at the workshop on the 17 Jan.

The Working Groups are now encouraging partners to sign up and get involved so that they can initiate their activities. If would like to join a Working Group just download the application form and return it to info@divseek.org.

Both the Roundtable and PAG workshop were well attended and provided an opportunity to introduce DivSeek to a wider audience, showcase projects from partners that illustrated the breadth of the DivSeek Initiative and introduce the concept of the working groups.

Roundtable on 13 January

Over 70 individuals from the DivSeek partner organizations and other interested parties attended the Roundtable event to learn about the progress made since the Partners Assembly in Saskatoon, Canada, in June 2016; to hear about technical developments, datasets, and integration efforts being carried out by the DivSeek Partners that are relevant to the DivSeek mission and aims; and to get involved in the Working Groups that were launched at the meeting.

During the morning session of the Roundtable, 12 of the DivSeek partners presented work on DivSeek-relevant projects from across the globe.

As a community-driven organization, one of the functions of DivSeek is to provide a forum for Partners to come together to share knowledge and expertise. It was clear from the lively discussion that followed each presentation, as well as the in depth discussions in the lunch and coffee breaks, that this event provided a wealth of useful information for the DivSeek Partners, initiated a number of new collaborations, as well as cementing some more established connections.

The round table event also provided an opportunity to provide an overview of the conference on “Plant Genetic Resources (PGRs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): needs, rights and opportunities”, that was held in Bellagio, Italy. The Bellagio meeting brought together experts in science and technology, gene bank management, policy, social science and governance, and civil society. Discussions at the Bellagio meeting focused on emerging research and development opportunities in science and information technology related to PGRs, as well as how to ensure safeguards and enhance opportunities to address the SDGs. The meeting attendees explored options for responding to these challenges that included new or revised policies and mechanisms for “access and benefit-sharing” in keeping with international law. They also discussed the development of norms and standards, monitoring, and innovation by voluntarily created communities of practice such as DivSeek.

During the Bellagio meeting, DivSeek representatives gathered input for their response to an invitation by the Secretary of the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources in Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) “to report on the implications for the objectives of the Treaty of the technologies underlying the DivSeek initiative” (as per paragraph 6 of Resolution 3/2015 of the Sixth Session of the Treaty Governing Body). This outcome can be used by the Secretariat to compile a synthesis on this report for consideration by the Governing Body of the Treaty at its 7th Session in 2017. A draft version of the response to the ITPGARFA was discussed with the Roundtable meeting attendees.

For access to the list of speakers and topics, please click here.

Workshop on 17 January

The PAG workshop was attended by over 60 people, and hosted presentations that highlighted crop domestication, crop wild relatives, promoting better use of genebanks and germplasm, genome prediction, data interoperability and data standards.

For access to the list of speakers and topics, please click here.

Future events

DivSeek will be holding elections for new Steering Committee members later this year.