The site is a resource for identifying taxonomic information (scientific names) as well as common names on more than 500,000 accessions (distinct varieties, cultivars etc.) of plants covering 10,000 species; both economically important ones and wild species. It profiles plants that are invasive or noxious weeds, threatened or endangered, giving out data on worldwide distribution of its habitat; as well as passport information. GRIN also incorporates an Economic Plants Database.
The network is maintained by GRIN's Database Management Unit (GRIN/DBMU). GRIN is under the oversight of National Germplasm Resources Laboratory (NGRL) in Beltsville, Maryland, which in 1990 replaced its forerunner, the Germplasm Services Laboratory (GSL), that had formerly run GRIN. Since November, 2015 GRIN has been running on GRIN-Global software produced by a collaborative project between the USDA and the Global Crop Diversity Trust.
A stated mission of GRIN is to support the following projects:
^National Research Council (U.S.); Committee on Managing Global Genetic Resources: Agricultural Imperatives (1991). The U.S. National Plant Germplasm System. National Academies Press. p. 139. ISBN 9780309043908.
^ abc"About us". Agricultural Resource Service. May 11, 2009. Archived from the original on May 27, 2012. Retrieved June 30, 2012.
^ abcdefLipscomb, Barney L.; Pipoly, John James; Sanders, Roger William (2000). Floristics in the New Millennium: Proceedings of the Flora of the Southeast US Symposium. Vol. 18. BRIT Press. p. 90. ISBN 9781889878041.
^Miller, William; Pellen, Rita M. (2006). Evolving Internet Reference Resources. Vol. 1. Psychology Press. p. 386. ISBN 9780789030252. It gives 450,000 accessions (outdated; GRIN gives 500,000 as of June 2012).
^"Accession Area Queries". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Archived from the original on May 27, 2012. Retrieved June 30, 2012. It gives 500,000 accessions.
^ abUllrich, Steven E. (2011). Barley: Production, Improvement, and Uses. John Wiley & Sons. p. 149. ISBN 9780813801230.
^National Research Council (U.S.).; Committee on Managing Global Genetic Resources: Agricultural Imperatives (1991). The U.S. National Plant Germplasm System. National Academies Press. pp. 6, 96. ISBN 9780309043908.