Databases have become an integral part of all aspects of biological research, including basic and applied plant biology. The importance of databases continues to increase as the volume of breeding data and genomics approaches expands.
International Potato Center (CIP) held a HIDAP and Sweetpotatobase training at the Institut de l’Environnement et Recherches Agricoles (INERA) in Burkina Faso. HIDAP is a free system developed CIP as part of on-going in-house efforts to unify best practices in breeding data management, data analysis and reporting in clonal crops breeding. HIDAP is available both online and as a standalone software that can be used without the internet. Sweetpotatobase is a free online system developed by the Solgenomics team from Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University for managing sweetpotato breeding data. It provides a comprehensive suite of search, management, and analysis tools for different breeding activities. The Fieldbook app has been integrated with the Sweetpotatobase and HIDAP tools to allow for easy creation of electronic field books and uploading of data to these platforms.
“We recognize the importance of using these tools in the sweetpotato breeding program here in INERA,”noted Dr. Some a sweetpotato breeder.
The first introduction to HIDAP, fieldbook app and Sweetpotatobase was during the 17th Sweetpotato SpeedBreeders meeting in Nairobi earlier this year explaining all functionalities for data collection, analysis and interpretation. The training showed how the on-going-in-house efforts of the International Potato Center (CIP) and collaboration with the Solgenomics team from Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University lead to a useful guidance in the sweetpotato breeding program in Burkina Faso.
Jolien Swanckaert noted that the research station in Ouagadougo, Burkina Faso having limited access to internet highlighted the importance of having a standalone software. Both HIDAP and Fieldbook app work without being connected to the internet. Creation of trials, data collection in the field using a tablet, data curation, data analysis and reporting was demonstrated during the training in an offline environment. However, being connected with other breeding programs also provides interesting possibilities. Sweetpotatobase brings all sweetpotato breeding activities together. Furthermore, Sweetpotatobase is connected with HIDAP online which has extra functionalities for data analysis.
“This was a successful training by CIP-Ghana. A good integration of the tools will now become reality in Burkina Faso. For anyone who is interested: the tools are freely available and the regional CIP team is always ready to give support,” added Jolien.
Overall, technology is developing at a rapid pace providing advances that would have seemed unrealistic a decade ago. In the next couple of years, an explosion of sequence information should facilitate another leap forward in genotyping tools that are useful for breeding applications.