Technology and science available to those who preserve agrobiodiversity
CAPFITOGEN has focused on innovative scientific strategies for conservation and efficient use of agrobiodiversity. Particularly in recent years several techniques and methodologies have emerged that incorporate ecogeography and geographic information systems (GIS) for the collection, conservation, characterization, and efficient use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, which has aroused great interest among curators and technicians. These methodologies include simplicity, scientifically proven efficiency, and low cost. However, their daily use has been restricted by the lack of practical ways that allow its utilization. For this reason, the CAPFITOGEN program defined as its main objective the development and subsequent transfer of practical tools necessary to implement the concepts of ecogeography and GIS utilities adapted to the conditions of the National Conservation Programs for Plant Genetic Resources in Latin America and the Caribbean. Then, the needs of technicians from other regions of the world were also considered. The result was the development of effective tools for PGRFA researchers, technicians, and curators fromanywhere in the world. This whole process had a special feature: the tools were developed by the same research team that has published many of the methodologies in scientific papers and the transfer was carried out through classroom-based technical workshops (theoretical/practical).
To use CAPFITOGEN tools version 2.0, a given user had to install the application on the computer (Windows system) and then enter the passport data in a previously established format (FAO/Bioversity 2012 format with minor modifications). The tools were available through a simple interface where certain parameters were defined. The interface loaded the parameters in an R programming software (R Core Team, 2012) where the analysis was performed, and the results were then saved in a folder determined by the user. The results were mainly composed of maps, charts, and graphs, which could be displayed in other free software like DIVA-GIS. The design and development of CAPFITOGEN tools allow a given user without knowledge of R to use these tools efficiently.In 2020, a new version of the tools called CAPFITOGEN3 was intoduced including two utilization modes: through the download of installers, a file and folder structure, and sets of information layers (local mode), or through an online system (on server mode), where the user simply registers to have access to all the necessary tools and information layers without performing any local installation and regardless of the operating system used. In any of its versions, CAPFITOGEN tools are access- and use-free. We only ask users to give credit to the program when publishing the results obtained from the implementation of the tools. This way, potential funders may decide to invest in this development and technology transfer model for the conservation and use of agrobiodiversity.