[NAFEX] East Malling Research to Fingerprint UK National
cc_syorks at yahoo.co.uk
Tue May 29 18:19:16 EDT 2007
Further to Sam's posting on the 24th May, I asked via the blog at FruitForum.net if anyone was aware of this.
I am pleased that a quantitative system is being devised for identifying apples - it will hopefully take out the ambiguity of identifying old varieties which are fruiting atypically. It is just a shame that the project is expanded at a time when the collections future is so uncertain
Joan Morgan replied -
"Keen followers of the Defra web-site will have seen that at the beginning of April Defra awarded East Malling Research a three year contract for Fingerprinting the National Apple and Pear Collection to commence on 01.04.07 and finish on 31.03.10. This contract followed on logically from work that East Malling had already undertaken. They had fingerprinting half the Pear Collection, funded by a previous Defra contract, and this new contract would complete the pears. Prior to this fingerprinting of much of the Cherry Collection had helped in sorting out duplicate accessions. So it was all part of an ongoing programme. But when this contract is set against the tender document for The Longterm Maintenance and Scientific Curation of the National Fruit Collections there is a problem and an extraordinary inconsistency.
The tender document covers both the curation of the Collections and their husbandry. Under Curation it asks potential bidders to submit plans for the continued verification and characterisation of accessions in the Collections. To fulfill this, as well as morphological characterisation (descriptions of fruit and other features), it says that Plans should be submitted for the continued exploitation of molecular tools for the verification of the major Collections. That is fingerprinting of the Collections and Apple is the major Collection.
The tender had to be in by 14 May, yet a month earlier on 1 April, Defra had awarded East Malling a contract to do just that - finger print the Apple Collection and complete the fingerprinting of the Pear Collection. For those people preparing bids, a major chunk of what they were tendering for had been removed! Since it was not mentioned in the tender document, anyone who did not by chance come across the news of the contract awarded for fingerprinting the Apple Collection would surely have included it in their bids, thereby bidding for work already being undertaken.
It makes one wonder if Defra departments communicate with each other at all, or is this part of some bigger picture? Can it be coincidence that Lord Rooker has stated that the decision to move the Collections was taken a year ago and that Defra had already awarded part of the work involved in their future management?"
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