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Information Bulletin

no. 20 - 07 April 2020 

Previous issues are available here

Tribute to Michele Stanca 

Our friend and colleague Antonio Michele Stanca,
leader and mentor in cereal genetics and breeding,
died of COVID-19 on 19 March 2020.

We will remember his passion, dedication,
competence and profound humanity.

Fifteenth meeting of the Executive Committee


The meeting took place 26-27 February 2020, Svalbard, Norway, back-to-back with the Svalbard Seed Vault Anniversary.

The agenda and the minutes of the meeting are available here

You can also click on image to access the minutes directly 


 Memorandum of Understanding signed between ECPGR and The Global Crop Diversity Trust

On 26 February 2020 a Memorandum of Understanding
for enhanced cooperation
was signed between ECPGR
and The Global Crop Diversity Trust.

See online posts from ECPGR and the Trust

You can click on image to access file directly

Grant Scheme - Third Call of Phase X


The ExCo selected the two following proposals:

Documentation and Information Working Group: GRIN-Global Workshop 2021 for European Genebanks (GRIN-Global II)

Brassica WG: Capturing Brassica Wild Relatives Diversity in South Eastern Europe (EUBRASWILD) (re-submitted as requested after Second Call). Approved with specific recommendations: see Letter of Award
Click to find out all about the outcomes of the previous Calls

Recent publications

Grant Scheme Activity
Safeguarding of potato onion
(Allium cepa L. Aggregatum group)
and garlic (Allium sativum L.)
crop diversity in North Europe – Baltic region

The Final Activity Report is available online here

You can also click on image to access it directly


European Evaluation Network (EVA)

Report of the ECPGR Workshop for the establishment of a European Evaluation Network (EVA) on wheat and barley,
27-28 November 2018, Berlin, Germany


The workshop report is available online here

You can also click on image to access it directly

Changes in membership of ECPGR bodies

New member of the Executive Committee (full list available here)
Ms Beate Schierscher-Viret from Switzerland replaced Mr Marc Lateur as of 1 March 2020, representing "the West region" in a broad sense.

New National Coordinators (full list available here)

Greece: Ms Anna Foulidi, from the Ministry of Rural Development and Food, replaced Ms Chara Christodoulou as of 10 February 2020.

Mr Jose Antonio Sobrino Maté, from the Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación, replaced Mr Luis Guasch as of 6 February 2020.

Turkey: Mr. Gökhan Kizilci, from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, replaced Ms Lerzan Gül Aykas as of 23 March 2020.

Working Group Chairs (list of Chairs for Phase X available here)
Wheat Working Group: the current Chair, François Balfourier will retire in June. He will be replaced by Albrecht Serfling starting 1 June 2020.

Working Group members
The lists are updated continuously

See list of Working Group members and Chairs

Contributions received to date

Recent ECPGR meetings
March 2020
EVA Lettuce Project: due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting originally planned for 30-31 March 2020 in Salsomaggiore Terme, Italy, was replaced by a virtual meeting on 30 March 2020. See below

February 2020
Fifteenth meeting of the Executive Committee, 26-27 February 2020, Svalbard, Norway (back-to-back with the Svalbard Seed Vault Anniversary) (see above) 

Meeting of the Grant Scheme  Activity "Testing, Use and Alignment of genetic data to distinguish unique and characterized accessions in Prunus (Prunus Alignment)", 18 February 2020, Athens, Greece.
The meeting report is available online


January 2020
First meeting of the Berries Working Group, 14-16 January 2020, Dresden, Germany.
The agenda, list of participants, presentations and a summary of the meeting are available online. The full meeting report is in preparation. 

Upcoming ECPGR meetings 

! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several meetings are being rescheduled or replaced by virtual meetings. The information below is up-to-date at time of publication (7 April). For further updates, please check our Future meetings webpage

May 2020
EVA Wheat and Barley Project Meeting, 5-6 May 2020, Gatersleben, Germany - now virtual meeting on 5 May

EVA Carrot Project Meeting, 13-14 May 2020, Angers, France - virtual meeting, date to be determined

Allium Working Group Meeting, 26-27 May 2020, Skierniewice, Poland - postponed, dates to be determined
EVA Maize Project Meeting, 27-28 May 2020, Paris, France - now virtual meeting on 27 May

June 2020
Solanaceae Working Group meeting, 8-9 June 2020, Pontecagnano, Italy - this meeting was to be held back-to-back with the EVA Pepper Project Meeting (below). Since it cannot be replaced by a virtual meeting, it will be postponed to a later date, possibly again in conjunction with an EVA pepper project meeting.

EVA Pepper Project Meeting, 9-10 June 2020, Pontecagnano, Italy - virtual meeting on 9 June 2020

July 2020
Meeting of the Grant Scheme Activity "Enhancing quality and quantity of Vitis genetic resources in AEGIS (AEG-VIT-IS)", 2-3 July 2020, Alcalá de Henares, Spain - meeting tentatively postponed to September/October, date to be determined

November 2020
16th (Mid-term) Steering Committee meeting, 24-27 November 2020, Padua, Italy (back-to-back with GenRes Bridge meeting)

2021 - date to be defined 
Meeting of the Grant Scheme Activity "Updated MORPHological dEscriptors for Avena Species (UMORPHEAS)":  the meeting, originally planned for 19-20 March 2020 in Birmingham, United Kingdom, was cancelled and the start of the Activity was postponed to January 2021.
International meetings - Click to access the selective list
ECPGR-related Horizon 2020 projects 

Ongoing projects

•  AGENT: Activated GEnebank NeTwork (see more info in bulletin n°19)
The project will officially start 1 May 2020.

  BRESOV: Breeding for Resilient, Efficient and Sustainable Organic Vegetable Production
  GenRes Bridge: Joining forces for GenRes and biodiversity management
The project held the following meetings:
- 17-19 March 2020, Paris, France (virtual meeting): GenRes Bridge workshop on innovative ways of sharing resources and services among genebanks and conservation sites 
- 18-20 February 2020, Bonn, Germany: Annual meeting (see highlights in the ExCo 15 Minutes)

•  STARGATE (Sensors and daTA towards high-performance Agri-food systems) was recently approved. This is a coordination and support action, coordinated by Marta Vasconcelos, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisbon, Portugal. The project is focused on ‘phenotyping’ and the EURISCO Coordinator has been contacted to maintain an open dialogue.

Submitted projects

• Greenbooster (Boosting Genetic Resources Approaches and Tools for Future Plant Pre-Breeding Needs) - coordinated by Alain Charcosset, INRAE, France.

• SpectraGenRes (Multispectral image analysis to characterize and evaluate seeds of legume genetic resources) - coordinated by Fiona Hay, Aarhus University, Denmark.



The European Collection

Further to the latest addition of 118 accessions by Romania, the total number of European Accessions is now 56 928.

       Breakdown per contributor:
For more details, click on image to access the webpage, or see full list of European Accessions.


EURISCO development
Re-engineering of the EURISCO import/update mechanism is under way.

Participation in H2020 projects
Involvement in AGENT, and in the proposals for GREENBOOSTER and SpectraGenRes (see above)

Dissemination of information

  EURISCO Newsletter no. 9 (December 2019) has been released
The Newsletter and previous issues are available from the EURISCO website (section EURISCO Documents) and from the "News" posted on ECPGR website.

You can also click on image to access file directly.

Presentations on EURISCO were given at the following meetings:
- First Meeting of the ECPGR Berries Working Group, 14-15 January 2020, Dresden, Germany.
- Ad hoc action meeting of the European Regional Focal Point for Animal Genetic Resources (ERFP): "Development of specifications for a modern gene bank documentation software (CryoWEB 2.0)", 11-12 March 2020, Madrid, Spain (meeting held in videoconference due to COVID-19 pandemic).

EURISCO National Focal Points Training Workshop
The workshop, originally planned to be held 18-21 May 2020 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, was postponed to September 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic (dates to be confirmed).

European Evaluation Network – EVA

The EVA network activities are picking up speed. All networks are still recruiting additional partners, which will help in increasing the number of evaluation sites and thus the diversity of environments in which European genebank accessions are being evaluated. Accessions are already being multiplied for the first rounds of evaluations for the EVA networks on wheat and barley as well as on pepper.
Project meetings for partners to agree on their relevant project plans have been scheduled for all networks in the beginning of 2020. However, because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic they will be substituted by virtual meetings with the hope that in-person meetings can be held later in the year.

EVA Lettuce Project meeting, 30 March 2020
The first virtual meeting to substitute for an in-person project meeting originally planned in Salsomaggiore, Italy, was held on 30 March 2020 on MS Teams. Sixteen project partners joined the online meeting and contributed to animated discussions on how to advance the EVA Lettuce project. Massimiliano Beretta (ISI Sementi, Italy), who volunteered to help leading the lettuce consortium, proposed several adjustments to the original project proposal, to streamline the experiment and create valuable data for the network partners. Two breeding companies agreed to evaluating Bremia resistance on 50 accessions in duplicate laboratory tests. Discussions on traits for field evaluations of up to 150 lettuce accessions were not finalized and will continue within the project team.
Despite the limitations of having these important discussions online instead of face-to-face the EVA Lettuce network partners agreed that using technologies as much as possible will facilitate the network interactions also going forward.

The agenda of the meeting and presentations are available online (see

A new open access peer-reviewed online journal

We are happy to announce the creation of Genetic Resources, a new open access peer-reviewed online journal which is free to publish and free to read. The ECPGR Secretariat is providing editorial management for the journal.

This new journal will serve as a common platform to share knowledge, tools and other information among practitioners and researchers across different domains of genetic resources, with a focus on plant, animal and forest genetic resources.

Authors are invited to submit original research, reviews or short communications. The first issue of Genetic Resources is scheduled to be published in June 2020. Manuscripts for consideration of the first issue should be submitted by 30 April 2020.

For more information, visit the journal website.

Reminders / Action points

 ! EURISCO Data Sharing Agreement (DSA)
Countries that have not yet done so (Belgium, Greece, Israel, North Macedonia and United Kingdom) are reminded to sign the amendment on the Data Sharing Agreement or the DSA itself.

Inclusion of accessions in the European Collection
Countries are encouraged to initiate or proceed with the identification of accessions that have originated in their respective country (i.e. collected or bred) and that the country is prepared to include in the European Collection.
The Secretariat is available to provide assistance to facilitate the process.

Nominations of WG members

Updating the lists of WG members is always possible
The lists are available online from the WG Members and Chairs webpage.
N.B. Since the beginning of Phase X, in case there are several members from the same country, it is requested to nominate a Contact person, who will be the primary contact point for the Working Group regarding crop-level items such as questions on the European crop collection, the crop-specific standards and other crop-specific issues.

Keep on sending information on National Programme public awareness
The ECPGR website collects accounts of national public awareness initiatives. Information is currently available for 19 countries from the National Programmes public awareness webpage.

Operational genebank manuals

National Coordinators are kindly reminded to make sure that Associate Members develop their operational genebank manual by using the endorsed template available on the AEGIS website.
In case of questions or doubts please contact Elinor Lipman (

Thank you for your inputs!
ECPGR and AEGIS website

ECPGR Information Bulletin No. 20

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