Web-accessible germplasm databases allow stakeholders to interactively search and locate information in real time. These databases can also be configured to permit designated users to remotely add, delete, or update information. These resources assist in decision-making activities that are related to germplasm documentation, conservation, and management. We report the development of a web-accessible database of Kenyan sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) varieties using open source software. Kenya is located in eastern Africa, a region that is considered one of the centers of diversity for sweetpotato. We describe the software applications used in developing the germplasm database as well as the web interface for displaying and interactively searching records. This report demonstrates that open source software can be used in developing a web-enabled database with management features similar to those found in proprietary or commercial applications.
Arthur Villordon, Wambui Njuguna, Simon Gichuki, Philip Ndolo and Don Labonte
Arthur Villordon, Wambui Njuguna, Simon Gichuki, Philip Ndolo, Heneriko Kulembeka, Simon Jeremiah, Don LaBonte, Bernard Yada, Phinehas Tukamuhabwa and Robert Mwanga
Web-based information delivers real-time or near-real-time data to clientele and other stakeholders. Although proprietary methods are available for interactively searching and updating databases through web interfaces, these methods generally require varying costs to maintain licensing agreements. The availability of publicly available software that require minimal or flexible licensing costs provide a cost-effective alternative to institutions that are considering access to databases via a web-accessible interface. For example, if a current web server is already configured to support hypertext preprocessor (PHP) scripts and MySQL databases, all that needs to be installed is a form script to allow the searching, inserting, and deleting of records. We describe procedures, software, and other applications that we used to develop a publicly accessible web interface to an experimental database of representative sweetpotato accessions in Kenya. The web address of this database is http://www.viazivitamu.org. This site also contains links to sweetpotato collection sites in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda graphically shown using a public domain GIS viewer. This demonstrates that public domain web-based tools can be configured not only to support collaborative activities among researchers in various locations, but also to provide relevant data to clients and other stakeholders.
Arthur Villordon, Wambui Njuguna, Simon Gichuki, Philip Ndolo, Heneriko Kulembeka, Simon C. Jeremiah, Don LaBonte, Bernard Yada, Phinehas Tukamuhabwa and Robert O. M. Mwanga
Detailed information on the geographic distribution of a crop is important in planning efficient germplasm conservation strategies but is often not available, particularly for minor crops. Using germplasm collection data from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, we used distribution modeling to predict the distribution of sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas L. (Lam.)] in sub-Saharan Africa. We used a consensus modeling approach using the following algorithms: genetic algorithm for rule set prediction (GARP), maximum entropy, BIOCLIM, and DOMAIN. The predicted distribution encompasses known sweetpotato production areas as well as additional areas suited for this crop species. New geographic areas where at least three models predicted presence were in Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, The Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Rwanda, and the Central African Republic. This information can be used to fill gaps in current sweetpotato germplasm collections as well as to further enhance the current presence-only based distribution model. Our approach demonstrates the usefulness of considering several models in developing distribution maps.