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: