genesysr Tutorial

Nora Castaneda & Matija Obreza


Querying Genesys PGR

Genesys PGR is the global database on plant genetic resources maintained ex situ in national, regional and international genebanks around the world.

genesysr uses the Genesys API to query Genesys data.

Accessing data with genesysr is similar to downloading data in CSV or Excel format and loading it into R.

For the impatient

Accession passport data is retrieved with the fetch_accessions function.

The database is queried by providing a filter (see Filters below):

## Setup: use Genesys Sandbox environment
# genesysr::setup_sandbox() 
# genesysr::setup_production() # This is initialized by default when loading genesysr

# Open a browser: login to Genesys and authorize access

# Retrieve all accession data for genus *Musa*
musa <- fetch_accessions(filters = list(taxonomy.genus = c('Musa')))

# Retrieve all accession data for the Musa International Transit Center, Bioversity International
itc <- fetch_accessions(list(institute.code = c('BEL084')))

# Retrieve all accession data for the Musa International Transit Center, Bioversity International (BEL084) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (COL003)
some <- fetch_accessions(list(institute.code = c('BEL084','COL003')))

genesysr provides utility functions to create filter objects using Multi-Crop Passport Descriptors (MCPD) definitions:

# Retrieve data by country of origin (MCPD)
fetch_accessions(mcpd_filter(ORIGCTY = c("DEU", "SVN")))

Processing fetched data

Fetched data is provided as a deeply nested list. To flatten the list, the following steps are suggested:

musa.flatten <- lapply(musa$content, unlist) # looks good
musa.flatten <- musa.flatten %>% map_df(bind_rows)


The records returned by Genesys match all filters provided (AND operation), while individual filters allow for specifying multiple criteria (OR operation):

# (genus == Musa) AND ((origcty == NGA) OR (origcty == CIV))
filter <- list(taxonomy.genus = c('Musa'), orgCty.iso3 = c('NGA', 'CIV'))

There are a number of filtering options to retrieve current data from Genesys. The filter object is a named list() where names match a Genesys filter and the value specifies the criteria to match.


taxonomy.genus filters by a list of genera.

taxonomy.species filters by a list of species.

Origin of material

orgCty.iso3 filters by ISO3 code of country of origin of PGR material.

geo.latitude and geo.longitude filters by latitude/longitude (in decimal format) of the collecting site.

Holding institute

institute.code filters by a list of FAO WIEWS institute codes of the holding institutes. filters by a list of ISO3 country codes of country of the holding institute.

Selecting columns

Genesys API returns a lot of variables for accession passport data. To reduce the amount of data to be processed and kept in memory, select the columns of interest with a selector function:

# Keep only accession id, acceNumb and instCode for *Musa* data
fetch_accessions(list(taxonomy.genus = c('Musa')), selector = function(x) {
  list(id = x$id, acceNumb = x$acceNumb, instCode = x$institute$code)

To list the variable names returned by the Genesys APIs, test the response and select columns of interest:

filters <- list()
accn <- fetch_accessions(filters)

# Print names used in JSON response from Genesys

Step-by-step example

Let’s take a look of all the process of fetching accession passport data from Genesys.

  1. Load genesysr
  1. Setup using user credentials
  1. Fetch data
musa <- genesysr::fetch_accessions(list(taxonomy.genus = c('Musa')))
  1. Flatten data into data frame
musa.flatten <- lapply(musa$content, unlist) #looks good
musa.flatten <- musa.flatten %>% map_df(bind_rows)