On May 24 to 27, 2016, sweetpotato breeders from CIP, CSIR-Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI) and CSIR-Savanna Agricultural Research Institute in Ghana participated in a three-day workshop at CSIR-CRI in Kumasi to learn how to use sweetpotatobase (SPbase). SPbase is a sweetpotato breeding database, and a suite of associated breeding program management, analytical and reporting tools, being developed under the Genomic Tools for Sweetpotato Improvement (GT4SP) project led by North Carolina State University, which is closely associated with SASHA and the African sweetpotato breeding community of practice. A well-structured database, and the ability to control labelling and other data errors that it allows, is essential to the management of precise multi-locational phenotyping efforts required to develop useful genomic tools for sweetpotato breeding, and indeed will be a great asset to all sweetpotato breeding efforts.
SPbase is under development at the the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI), Ithaca, New York, with input from CIP, including the CloneSelector and AccuDatalog tools developed under SASHA, and from North Carolina State University. Bryan Ellerbrock and Alex Ogbonna from BTI, along with Luka Wanjohi from CIP, demonstrated and beta-tested the brand new database. Fifteen participants, including senior breeders, technicians, students and data managers got hands-on experience using SPbase, and by the end of the workshop were able to enter lists of accessions, generate trial designs and produce field books for phenotyping. Prior to the departure of their “instructors,” students working on the GT4SP project in Ghana, were able to register their map population of 317 individuals in the SPbase, and to generate the layout for a field trial layout to be planted shortly. Plans are in place to enter historical breeding data generated since 2010 under SASHA into SPbase. Convenient tools will quickly be adopted by the sweetptotato breeding community of practice.
Following the workshop in Ghana, the BTI instructors moved on to Uganda to do a similar training. The following week, they will participate in the 15th Annual meeting of the Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative (SPHI) sweetpotato breeders meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, where they will make presentations to a broader audience of sweetpotato breeders.