New information system creates better security for the Nordic seed collection

The Nordic genes are secured for the future! One of our networks has been working on updating a platform for hosting the information about the 33 000 seed samples conserved in Alnarp, Sweden.


Information about the network – Evalution of genebank material
NordGen is the Nordic countries’ genebank and knowledge center for genetic resources. In Alnarp, there are 33 000 seed samples conserved detrimental for adapting our agriculture to present and future challenges.

Now, the platform hosting the information about all of these seeds is updated. From the 3rd of July, Nordic Baltic Genebanks Information System (GENBIS) replaces the previous system SESTO. GENBIS will be hosted by NordGen but also used by the national genebanks in all the Nordic and Baltic countries. 

Close up on wheat. Photo.

The heart of the genebank

The system containing the information about all the germplasms is the heart of every gene bank. It contains data about the seed samples and plants, their collection sites, characteristics and amount of seeds, to name a few.

– Without the information in the database, we wouldn’t be able to keep the plant collection alive or conduct research with it. To have a user-friendly, reliable and up-to-date information system is thereby vital to make use of the Nordic seed collection to secure our agriculture for the future”, says Lise Lykke Steffensen, executive director at NordGen.

Hard to find staff

The previous information system, SESTO, was developed in 2002 and has since then been used by genebanks in the Nordic and Baltic countries as well as genebanks in different countries in the south of Africa. But the code it was written in has become obsolete and it is difficult to find personnel confident in working with it. That’s why it was decided, after a thorough examination, that all the information would be transferred to the international platform GRIN-Global, well-known in the genebank community. SESTO’s successor has been given the name Nordic Baltic Genebanks Information System (GENBIS).

– GENBIS is a continuation on the close collaboration the Nordic and Baltic countries have had for a long time in the area of plant genetic resources. This new information system will lead to an improvement of the services we can offer, both internally and externally, when it comes to information about the genetic resources we need for developing agricultural solutions for the future”, says Külli Annamaa, head of the Estonian Genebank.

Open system

GENBIS will be used internally for genebank work, but also as an open information system available for researchers, plant breeders and other stakeholders who want to browse and order material stored in the genebanks. GENBIS can be visited at Here, you can also find user manuals.

For more information, please contact:

Lise Lykke Steffesen, executive manager, NordGen
+46 738-171 215

Külli Annamaa, head of the genebank, Estonian Crop Institute
+372 776837