The Concept and Implementation of the Plant Breeding and Genomics Community of Practice
David Francis Ph.D. - Ohio State University
The plant breeding and genomics community of practice (PBG CoP; (http://pbgworks.org) is funded through the USDA-NIFA plant breeding and genomics competitive grants program and aims to help plant breeders translate basic research into applied outcomes. As improved technology is applied to DNA sequencing and genotyping, costs have decreased and the volume of genetic and genomic data has increased. Such data can be leveraged to improve crops, but successfully implementing genomics-assisted strategies will necessitate changes to the structure and methods used in crop improvement programs, requiring outreach efforts to facilitate adoption in an applied plant breeding context. Our content targets professional plant breeders, their staff, and associated professionals. An assessment conducted within the plant breeding community by an external evaluator revealed a need for training and tutorials demonstrating application of plant genomics tools to crop improvement. To facilitate collaborative content development, a password-protected Drupal work site was constructed. Multiple authors can jointly develop content and use workflow tools to track progress through writing and the three-tiered review process. PBG resources are available through eXtension at www.extension.org/plant_breeding_genomics and are designed to help visitors access open-source statistical software, analyze high-throughput SNP genotype data, align next generation sequence data, and implement new strategies. The information was collaboratively developed by the Solanaceae Coordinated Agricultural Project (SolCAP), the Conifer Translational Genomics Network (CTGN), the Barley Coordinated Agricultural Project (BarleyCAP), RosBREED, and the Institute of Barley and Malt Sciences. Despite the narrow focus of our audience, more than 150,000 pages and 50,000 videos have been viewed since our launch in January 2011. This reception suggests a need for high quality original content to help put basic research into practice.