[Arabidopsis] Re:Keeping track of arabidopsis seed stocks

Charles S. Gasser via arab-gen%40net.bio.net (by csgasser At ucdavis.edu)
Thu Feb 1 12:20:16 EST 2007

>Brian Forde writes:
>I'd be interested to find out what people think is the best way of 
>keeping track of their arabidopsis seed stocks from generation to 
>generation, recording harvest dates, phenotypes, and providing links 
>to parents and progeny - for example when performing a series of 
>backcrosses with a set of mutants.
>Is there specialised software available for this?
>Any advice would be gratefully received.

In my lab we use a Filemaker database that I modeled after a method 
used by many in the maize community for many decades.  It has worked 
very well for 16 years.  It could benefit from some relational 
additions, but I have never had the time to figure out how to do that 
since such capabilities were added to the Filemaker program. 
Filemaker is Mac/PC transparent and a database on a server can be 
accessed equally by both Macs and PCs.  I would be glad to provide an 
empty version of my database file (perhaps with a few included 
records as examples), but a lab has to purchase FileMaker software to 
use it (In the US $300 commercial, $150 academic purchase).

The database works best if it is used ALWAYS for EVERY planting in 
your lab.  Here is how we use it:

Each record refers to an individual planting.  A planting is defined 
as seed from one pack planted on one day (and can be any number of 
pots or flats).  Each record is given a unique number that goes on 
the flats/pots and goes on any seed collected from such. For example, 
seeds collected in bulk from planting 4532 would just have "4532 
self" on the packet and the date collected.  If you collect from 
individual plants in a planting then you give the seed packets 
numbers like "4532-1, 4532-2" etc for each plant.  A cross is listed 
as "4532-1 X 4653-6" if you crossed plant number 1 from the first set 
with plant number 6 from the other.

People in my lab have to get a number BEFORE planting.  You go to the 
database, ask for a new record, put in the data on what is being 
planted and then record the new number it has given you to put on 
your pots/flats. (we even have it set up to print Avery labels for 
the pots if you have a lot of pots)

The system works so well that I can look up anything planted by 
anyone who has been in my lab for the past 16 years, and can trace 
the lineage of any of the nearly 25,000 seed packets back to where it 
started.  I can trace lineages of the nearly 10,000 plantings we have 
done with a few quick searches etc.  The seeds are kept in tupperware 
boxes in numerical order with desiccant in the bottom.

You can put in a backlog by just giving your existing seeds numbers 
as you enter them into the database, as though you had done it from 
the start.

I have looked at other peoples' systems but prefer ours to any of the others.

Chuck Gasser
Charles S. Gasser
Section of Molecular and Cellular Biology
University of California
1 Shields Ave.
Davis, CA  95616

csgasser At ucdavis.edu
Tel. 530 752-1013
FAX 530 752-3085

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