Is Your Plant Breeding Data Secure?

What happens to your data if it is lost or worse, seen by a competitor? If your plant breeding data is not secure, disaster can result. The knowledge as to what parents are being used in crosses is critical and often, top-secret. Such breeding decisions are based on years of knowing the germplasm and thus, are of strategic value.

Silhouette of a hacker on the background of secure data cloud
Silhouette of a hacker on the background of secure data cloud

By knowing how good a soon-to-be-released hybrid is, a competitor could get an early warning of what is coming next. Their marketing team would really want to know this in advance so they can get an advantage over you.

Bad data results in bad decisions. Bad data negatively impacts plant breeders and their respective companies in countless ways. That’s why you need good data, and it must be kept secure.

Let’s assume you have good data, how does the right software ensure secure plant breeding data? An integrated database will connect and maintain the data as well as offer different levels of security. To start with, user access should be controlled by an administrator, who should set up users for a given database within the breeding program.

Once in the database, there should be different user access levels:

  • Full access rights
  • Edit only
  • View only

Other considerations should be the ability to viewing pedigree data. Going one stop further for higher security, restrict which experiments or nurseries can be viewed by each person entering the database. This lets you protect your more sensitive data.

Secret data, secured!

transgenic watermelon
Transgenic watermelon

Transgenics is a good example. When companies research “events” which manipulate DNA, the resulting data is highly secretive and proprietary. That data must be protected. Some bigger seed companies do not want all their staff to see such data, given staff turnover and the possibility of a breeder going to a competitor. The more secure your data is, and the more you can control it, the better for your company.

Why risk the future of your seed company on Excel files, or some simpler, older, vulnerable software system?


(First published on SeedWorld.com, November 2016, edited June 2019)

Dr Dieter Mulitze is Founder and CEO of Agronomix Software Inc. – developers of leading plant breeding software used worldwide by breeders and variety testers.



Categories: Data Security

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