Plant Breeding Information Resources

by Leyla R Cabugos – July 30, 2020

Use this guide to discover and use of information resources in plant breeding research.  Please feel free to contact Leyla with questions, or to schedule a research consultation or an instruction session for your class or lab group.

Leyla Cabugos

Research Support Services
Researcher Services Librarian


In this Guide:

Plant breeding is informed by a variety of academic disciplines, for which subject-specific article databases and other resources have been developed. The databases linked below are collections of articles and other publications, indexed to allow for precise searching. The descriptions will help you select the best tool for the research task at hand.  You are always welcome to consult with a librarian if you would like help with this.

Tip for Google Scholar users: For smooth access to paywalled resources, make sure it’s set up to show you what’s available through the UCD Library.  Here’s how.

You can find additional resources in the research guides listed below:

Plant Sciences Subject Guide

Molecular and Cellular Biology Subject Guide

Biological and Agricultural Engineering Subject Guide

Drug Discovery Subject Guide

Agricultural Economics Subject Guide

Food Science and Nutrition Subject Guide

Patent Research Guide

Full List of UCDL Subject Guides (accessible from the Library homepage)


BIOSIS Previews is a database designed by biologists for researching the biological sciences literature.

Provides citations and abstracts to the international agricultural literature, including veterinary medicine, human and animal nutrition, forestry, rural development, as well as other related topics such as tourism and human ecology. Covers over 11,000 journals & conference proceedings and selected books in agriculture. Produced by CAB (Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux) International (CABI) with more than 10 million records.

HISTORICAL SCOPE: Archive abstracts added in August 2005 go back to 1910 with 1,860,000 additional records. CAB DATABASE PDFs: As of January 2009, hard-to-find literature may be available as CAB Database PDFs (so noted *below* the UC-eLinks button).  These CABI Full Text items give users automatic access to over 350,000 journal articles, conference papers and reports – 80% of which are not available electronically anywhere else. NOTE: the default UCD Search Type is set to Advanced Ovid Search.

Coverage: 1910-present
Tags: Agriculture, Animals, Ecology, Plants, Science
Related links: Database Guide[OvidSP]
PubMed comprises more than 30 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books.
Scholarly journals, books, and proceedings in the sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities. Navigate the full citation network.
FSTA (Food Science and Technology Abstracts) is a database of food science, food technology, and nutrition information. PLEASE NOTE:  As of 2019, unlimited simultaneous user access is now available.
Coverage: 1969-present
Tags: Food, Technology
Related links: Food Science Technology Abstracts Database Guide

“AgEcon Search – Research in Agricultural and Applied Economics” is a World Wide Web site developed and maintained at the University of Minnesota by Magrath Library and the Department of Applied Economics. AgEcon Search collects, indexes, and electronically distributes full text copies of scholarly research in the broadly defined field of agricultural economics including sub disciplines such as agribusiness, food supply, natural resource economics, environmental economics, policy issues, agricultural trade, and economic development. AgEcon Search will serve as the permanent archive for this literature and encourages authors and organizations to use this electronic library as the storehouse for additional appropriate scholarly electronic works.”

Published by the National Agricultural Library, the Agricola database describes publications and resources encompassing all aspects of agriculture
AGRIS covers all aspects of agricultural sciences and technology, including grey literature not available through normal publication and distribution channels, such as unpublished scientific and technical reports, theses, conference papers and government publications.
Coverage: 1975-present
Tags: Agriculture, Crops, Horticulture, Irrigation, Pomology, Soils

Seach U.S. government technical reports issued primarily prior to 1976 and digitized by TRAIL member libraries. Digitized series include Atomic Energy Commission, NACA, Bureau of Mines Bulletins, and NBS publications.

UC Davis provides access to three library catalogs from its home page:

UC Davis Library Catalog- For print and electronic resources at UC Davis
Melvyl Advanced -Shared catalog of all UC libraries (VPN required), access items through Interlibrary Loan
Libraries Worldwide (WorldCat) (VPN required)- Access items through Interlibrary Loan

Accessing Electronic Books

Links to a guide to finding electronic books within, and beyond, the UCD Library’s collection.

*Note: Access to electronic books is campus specific. Use the UC Davis library catalog, or E-book collections in the Databases list, to find and access books through the UC Davis Library.

UC Davis Library Catalog

Make your search more efficient by:

  • Selecting “Library Catalog Only” to exclude articles from the search (e.g. if you want to find books, not reviews of those books).
  • Start your search in Google Books to find terms within the full text, then return to the library catalog to access a copy (since you’ll only be able to view samples of copyrighted materials in GB).
  • Find books on plant breeding: Use the language of library catalogs and look for Subject Headings related to plant breeding  in this document (see page 358). You can also find subject terms next to your search results in the UCD Library catalog (see image below).
    • Hint: Books will be filed according to the main topics covered, so if you’re looking for works on wheat breeding, you may also want to use terms like cereals if you’re interested in broader works with a chapter on wheat.  Note that specialized works will only be filed under the narrowest Subject Heading available, so a search for the Subject Heading Plant Breeding will not contain works filed under the narrower term, Plant Hybridization.  Narrower Terms are identified with NT under each term in the document above.  If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask a librarian!

Find Dissertations and Theses

Library Home > Databases > Search for “Dissertation” > Proquest Dissertations & Theses 

This proprietary database helps you locate dissertations published since 1861 (theses began to be added later), which are usually only held at the institution where the degree was conferred.  Sometimes, hard copies are available for interlibrary loan. A digital copy of works published after 1997 is available for purchase (you can suggest the library acquire it for our collection), or for free if the home institution is a UC campus.

Agricultural Statistics Guide

Global agricultural statistics (FAOStat)

Agricultural production data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Example: Data > Producer Prices > [choose a crop, year, country]

International Network of Food Data Systems (INFOODS)

Composition data for foods.

Example: Tables and Databases > [choose a user guide to view contents]

US National Agricultural Statistics Service

The NASS Quick Stats Database is the most comprehensive tool for accessing agricultural data published by NASS. It allows you to customize your query by commodity, location, or time period.

Example: survey > crops > field crops > hops

Industry Groups

Industry groups often collect or repackage production and price data relevant to their membership. For example, the California Strawberry Commission releases various reports on the current and historical status of the strawberry market in the U.S., derived from both public and private data sources.

Find more resources in the Agricultural Statistics Research Guide

UC Davis Library Special Collections

Here is a list highlighting some archival collections relevant to the plant sciences.

Collections Related to Plant Breeding

Wild and domesticated species of plants and animals

University of California Genetic Resources Conservation Program records


Basil George David Bartley papers, 1856-2007, bulk 1957-1999

Musk Melons

Frank W. Zink papers

Oil crops

Paulden Knowles papers


Harold Paul Olmo papers.

Online Archive of California

The OAC is a website that provides free public access to detailed descriptions [and in some cases digital copies] of primary source collections (artwork, manuscripts, papers, historic photographs, and so on) maintained by more than 200 libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies, and museums throughout California — including collections maintained by the 10 University of California (UC) campuses.


ArchiveGrid provides descriptions of documents, personal papers, family histories, and other archival materials held by thousands of libraries, museums, historical societies, and archives. The majority of the records are from US institutions, and were harvested from the most comprehensive shared library catalog available to us, WorldCat.

Ex. search for Plant Breeding

**The following lists are examples of each kind of source, and are by no means exhaustive.**

Genomic and Molecular Information

The Arabadopsis Information Resource (VPN connection required)

The Arabidopsis Information Resource (TAIR) maintains a database of genetic and molecular biology data for the model higher plant Arabidopsis thaliana . Data available from TAIR includes the complete genome sequence along with gene structure, gene product information, gene expression, DNA and seed stocks, genome maps, genetic and physical markers, publications, and information about the Arabidopsis research community. Gene product function data is updated every week from the latest published research literature and community data submissions. TAIR also provides extensive linkouts from data pages to other Arabidopsis resources.

Repbase (VPN connection required)

A database of representative repetitive sequences from eukaryotic species. According to its producer, Repbase is being used worldwide as the reference standard for annotating the presence of repetitive DNA in genomic data. Newly identified repetitive DNA elements reported in the monthly e-journal, Repbase Reports, are stored and shared in the Repbase database.

Descriptions, parentage, and trademark names of crops


Vegetable cultivars

Fruit and nut cultivars

Published descriptions

Search within “Register of New Fruit and Nut Cultivars” in the journal Hortscience. > Journals A-Z > Hortscience > Search Within Journal

Government and international sources of germplasm and descriptions

Genetic Resources Information Network (USDA)


Crop Wild Relatives

ICARDA: International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas


Find other entities with Library of Congress Subject Headings:

Germplasm Repositories at UC Davis

C.M. Rick Tomato Genetic Resources Center

Phaff Yeast Culture Collection

Community Sources

Seed Savers Exchange

Tatiana’s Tomato Base

Literature on Genebanks

Search library catalogs for subject headers like these:

COVID-19 Related Library Updates

Find the latest information about library resources and services during the COVID-19 response.

Access VPN

Connect to UCD Library resources from your own computer or from off-campus

Contact Your Librarian

Leyla Cabugos   Feel free to reach out by phone, email, or to set up a web meeting in Zoom.

Need a basic question answered ASAP? Your fastest option is Ask A Librarian 24/7 chat. Note that this service is staffed collaboratively by libraries nationwide, so the librarian you talk with may not be at UC Davis.

Take Notes

Document your search process, so you can easily update and build upon it.  This useful template for note taking was developed by Carrol Community College.

Manage Citations

Software to organize and automatically reformat your bibliographies. Compare popular citation management products: EndNote, Mendeley, Zotero, and F1000

Methods Pre-Registration

Funding for Open Access Publishing

Access up to $1,000 per article from the UCD Library toward publishing fees in fully open access journals.

UCD E-links

Most literature databases provide a description of articles, or other literature resources, that allows you to find them among thousands of sources.  However, there is often another step required to access a full text copy. This extra step is facilitated through the UCD E-links button, found on the item record.

Not all articles will be accessible directly from a database, as UCD E-links can only connect you to material licensed or owned by the library. However, we can borrow material from other libraries, if you put in an Interlibrary Loan request.

Watch how to make an Interlibrary Loan request for articles not available in the library collection.