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GAO examined the Agricultural Research Service's (ARS) management of plant germplasm stores, focusing on: (1) ARS information collection and priority setting for germplasm management activities; (2) conditions that affect species' long-term survival; and (3) assessment of the effects of biotechnology applications.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Agricultural Research Service 1. The Administrator, ARS, should determine which crops would most benefit from the full implementation of the GAO-proposed methodology, or a similar one that incorporates the same basic concepts, and implement it for those crops (perhaps four or five related crops in the first year). Although the costs associated with the survey implementation will probably compete for germplasm program funds, GAO believes that the methodology can supplement or replace current data collection efforts. Therefore, the survey costs will be at least partially offset by the valuable information obtained and the resulting effect on decisionmaking.
Closed - Implemented
The Agricultural Research Service implemented the GAO recommended survey methodology for improving data collection and management of plant genetic resources, and included additional implementation evolving at other crops in its 10-year plan.

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