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Plant Breeding, Genetics, & Genomics

CRIS Database

The Current Research Information System (CRIS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's documentation and reporting system for ongoing agricultural, food and nutrition, and forestry research and education. CRIS contains more than 30,000 descriptions of current, publicly-supported research and education activities. This work is sponsored or conducted by USDA research agencies, state Agricultural Experiment Stations, state land-grant colleges and universities, state schools of forestry, cooperating schools of veterinary medicine, and USDA grant recipients.

NIFA's Current Research Information System (CRIS) database contains information on thousands of NIFA-funded cooperative projects, including projects on:

•  plant breeding,

•  genetics (classical, quantitative, and molecular),

•  genomics, or

•  plant genetic resources.

Searching the CRIS Database

To search the CRIS database, visit http://cris.nifa.usda.gov/. From the left navigation bar, select "Search CRIS Now." Here you will find the three search areas: Full Text, Individual Data Fields, and Classification Codes. After choosing the appropriate search area and completing the search field always remember to click "Search" (do not press enter, this will result in a redirection to a help screen), you will then see records retrieved and the number of projects appear. Clicking on the "Display Results" button then retrieves the projects, using the search criteria and displays them on your browser.

The CRIS Manual of Classification is also found on the left navigation bar and is used to classify all records documented in the Current Research Information System. The classification codes are also used for retrieval purposes. The Research Problem Area (RPA) was renamed Knowledge Area (KA) in October 2005; this change will be reflected in a later edition of the manual.

Full Text Search

In the top three entry boxes, "Full Text Terms," etc., you may enter whatever terms or keywords you choose to characterize the projects you wish to see. The text fields that are searched for your words or phrases are: Title, Objectives, Approach, Non-Technical Summary, Keywords, Progress, and Impact.

Individual Data Fields Search

The lower half of the search screen contains entry boxes corresponding to individual data fields or groups of fields of the CRIS database. You may wish to use only this section of the screen to search for projects by State/Country, Agency, Investigator, Project Type, and Status, etc. Fill out as many boxes as you wish, then click on any of the "Search" buttons.

CRIS Classification Codes Search

CRIS codes are used to search the CRIS database. Codes include research problem area (this will eventually will be changed to knowledge area), subject of investigation, and field of science. Keywords can also be used in CRIS searches, however codes are often easier to use.

The composite fields allow one to search alphanumeric codes in any of five different classification fields. The fields included are the three primary classifications (RPA/KA, Field of Science, Subject of Investigation), and the NIFA Strategic Goals and Objectives.

The complete list of classification codes for CRIS RPAs/KAs is identified in the CRIS Manual of Classification. The manual also lists the subject code for each crop and identifies the field of science codes.

Every CRIS project contains at least one code from each of the primary classifications and Strategic Goals. An example of each type of classification code is shown in the following table. Remember to use a space in between the letter and number in order to have an accurate search.


Classification Type



R 201

Field of Science

F 1040

Subject of Investigation

S 0699


The following are some of the CRIS RPA/KA codes to develop searches in areas relating to plant breeding, genetics, and genomics.


Forest and Range Resources

123. Management and Sustainability of Forest Resources

124. Urban Forestry

125. Agroforestry


Plant Production

201. Plant Genome, Genetics, and Genetic Mechanisms

202. Plant Genetic Resources

203. Plant Biological Efficiency and Abiotic Stresses Affecting Plants

204. Plant Product Quality and Utility (Preharvest)

205. Plant Management Systems

206. Basic Plant Biology


Plant Production

211. Insects, Mites, and Other Arthropods Affecting Plants

212. Pathogens and Nematodes Affecting Plants

213. Weeds Affecting Plants

214. Vertebrates, Mollusks, and Other Pests Affecting Plants

215. Biological Control of Pests Affecting Plants

216. Integrated Pest Management Systems


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