2021 was the year of collaboration in breeding informatics

In March 2021, a new network of specialists, the Breeding Informatics Network (BrIN) was established to standardize and modernize breeding data storage, access, curation, analysis, visualization, and decision support. The ultimate goal of BrIN is to improve quality and efficiency in delivering improved varieties to farmers. On December 15, 2021, BrIN celebrated their 2021 successes, and recognized key contributors around the globe. The group reflected on the successful foundation put in place to standardize collaboration, processes, tools and practices across CGIAR and NARS breeding going forward.

"Before BrIN, we did not have a central place to share experiences, accomplishments and processes," said Young Wha Lee, Breeding Informatics Lead with the CGIAR Excellence in Breeding Platform. "We didn't have a place where we could hear about what other crops and programs are doing. We didn't have a forum to build consensus on what we consider to be best practices, or consensus on what are the major pain points and bottlenecks."

Within BrIN, four teams of experts from across CGIAR breeding programs were convened to assess the current state and requirements for analytics processes in the areas of genetic gains and experiment design, advancement decisions, genomic selection applications and marker-assisted breeding. Starting in 2022, the group will be able to provide recommendations for best practices and participate in new working groups across CGIAR and NARS, having established a model of how collaboration can take place across crops and Centers to achieve greater impact.

“The first two sprints in 2021 we excelled in driving best practices and aggregating requirements,” said Star Gao, BrIN project manager. “We created a lot of assets in terms of harmonized requirements and also ways of working. That’s the beauty of this platform, not only to understand the current practices and capabilities, compare and contrast them across diverse crops and programs; we also prioritize and recommend best practices and analytical standards for the EBS and IT teams to implement."

During the end-of-year celebration, 35 contributors and partners connected around the world. Representatives of each of the four teams reported their progress and successes in 2021, reflected on their impacts and recommended action plans for 2022. The meeting ended with a recognition and awards ceremony for key contributors and partners.