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Information Bulletin


No. 4 05 August 2015

A summary of activities prepared by the ECPGR Secretariat

to the attention of the National Coordinators
This fourth issue covers the period 1 May - 4 August 2015.

We hope you will find this bulletin useful and look forward to your feedback (you can send comments by using the Reply button to the email message).

The bulletins are also available online (see


We are all deeply saddened by the untimely loss of our dear colleague and friend Iva Faberová, who passed away on 21 July 2015.  

Iva collaborated intensely and effectively with ECPGR during her long career as Information Specialist at the Crop Research Institute, Prague-Ruzyne, Czech Republic.
She was highly esteemed by all those who had the occasion to work with her – members of the Wheat Working Group, EURISCO and the extended community of documentation specialists. Everyone was full of praise for her talents and hospitality in the organization and hosting of meetings, the last being the Documentation and Information Worskhop in Prague last year. She possessed a rare combination of professional competences and human qualities which made her unforgettable. And indeed she will not be forgotten, but we all miss her greatly.

ECPGR structure and modus operandi


Signature of memberships to date




31 countries have signed the Membership
Agreement for Phase IX (click on map)

One Letter of Agreement was received
during the last 3 months (Austria)






34 countries have signed the Memorandum of Understanding (click on map)

58 Associate Membership Agreements have been signed (click here to see full list)

One new Associate Agreement was signed with the Institute HBLFA Raumberg-Gumpenstein, Austria.

Level of contributions received to date



Total member contributions received for 2014 amounted to 470 250 (Phase IX budget was calculated based on an expected total annual amount of € 510 250).
To date, annual contributions were received from 33 countries and are expected from at least 5 additional countries.


Member contributions were received from 27 countries for a total amount of
€ 376 250.

Annual report 2014

The Annual progress report and the Financial report were distributed to the Steering Comittee on 10 July 2015. The Annual progress report is available online (here).

New Chair

Parthenopi Ralli was nominated as the new Chair for the Beta Working Group on 12 May 2015.

All Chairs positions for Phase IX have now been filled.
For full list, see New Chairs for ECPGR Working Groups during Phase IX

ECPGR Activity Grant Scheme - Second Call

Nine Proposals submitted


The deadline for submission of proposals for the Second Call under the ECPGR Activity Grant Scheme was postponed to Monday 3 August 2015.

A total of nine proposals were received from the following Working Groups:
       Documentation and Information
       Medicinal and Aromatic Plants
       Umbellifer Crops
       Wild Species Conservation in Genetic Reserves

The proposals will be evaluated by the ExCo and a final decision is expected by the end of September 2015.

ECPGR Activity Grant Scheme - First Call

Implementation of the Activities - summary of progress


(for the full list of Activities, see Outcomes of the First Call)

Partners are engaged in the implementation of their workplans as defined in their proposals.

This section attempts to provide a “snapshot” of the current status according to the information available to the Secretariat to date.

“Genetic diversity of Patellifolia species”
GeDiPa webpage

The coordination meeting of the GeDiPa project was held 17 February 2015 at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain.
The action aims at a better understanding of the spatial distribution of genetic diversity within the genus Patellifolia, the establishment of taxonomic standard accessions as well as the identification of MAAs for AEGIS and to (r
e)visit sites recommended for the establishment of genetic reserves by the AEGRO project team.

Following the meeting, the project partners carried out sampling of plant occurrences of P. patellaris and P. procumbens. For that purpose sites on the Capverdian Islands, in southeastern Spain and Tenerife, in mainland Portugal and on the Madeira archipelago were visited.

(photo: Variation in Patellifolia)

Seeds have been collected to close geographic gaps in the European PGR holding. The new accessions will be deposited in the respective national genebank. Leaf samples were harvested for cytological analysis to determine the ploidy level and the occurrence of hybridization between P. patellaris, known as tetraploid species, and the diploid species P. procumbens. Twenty-five polymorphic SSR markers were developed and tested. This set is suited to analyse genetic diversity of P. patellaris, P. procumbens and P. webbiana. A primer note is currently being prepared for submission.

“Identification of a representative set of Prunus domestica accessions of European origin, well documented and characterized, to be included into the AEGIS system”

PRUNDOC webpage

The meeting of the PRUNDOC project was held 20-21 April 2015 in Leuven, Belgium.

For the implementation of their Activity, the ten partners agreed to focus only on Prunus domestica and Prunus insititia.
A total of 111 AEGIS candidate accessions from 14 Europ
ean countries were proposed.

(photo: Italian plum landrace Agostana, a candidate AEGIS accession)

Procedures were also agreed for the sharing of data, including passport, characterization and evaluation (10 descriptors) and other data (pictures and morphometric study of the kernel), and for the selection of accessions for SSR identification (3 accessions/partner).
Discussions also addressed the procedures for the delivery of data to EURISCO and to the European Prunus Database (EPDB), the prioritization of the AEGIS criteria, and the issues related to the exchange of material.
The preparation of a proposal for the Second Call of the Grant Scheme to include more partners and more plum species was considered.
Time-framed workplans were developed for each item and the tasks are currently being implemented.
The leaves of the 30 accessions selected for SSR identification have been sent to Sweden. The First and Second Priority Descriptors for plum are being finalized.
The final draft minutes are available from the
 PRUNDOC webpage.
“Identification and updating of C&E data in EBDB of AEGIS Hordeum

HordEva webpage

A first meeting to finalize the detailed workplan for the project took place on 21 April 2015 in Berlin.
Preparations are ongoing for the project meeting to be held in Alnarp, Sweden on 18-20 November 2015.
The participants are working on the goals of the activity following the guidelines decided upon at the initial meeting.

EURISCO Training Workshop 2015
"National Focal Points Regional Training Workshop for Southeast Europe'

19-21 May 2015, Tirana, Albania

This workshop, which focussed on SEEDNet member countries, was organized in collaboration with the Agricultural University of Tirana, Department of Plant Sciences and Technology; it brought together 20 participants, including 16 National Focal Points/National Coordinators.
The first day was dedicated to plenary presentations on the status of National Inventories (NIs) of the participating countries and on the current status and foreseen development of EURISCO. On the second day a hands-on session was performed, which allowed testing the update procedure for several NIs.
The participants also discussed some technical EURISCO aspects (Intranet, possible extension of passport descriptors, upload and utilization of C&E data).
The workshop was considered very useful by the participants and had some immediate results: shortly after the meeting, productive updates were made for datasets from Albania, Croatia, Estonia and Spain.
The final draft report of the meeting and the presentations made by participants are available online (
EURISCO NFP Training Workshop webpage).
It is planned to hold other similar workshops in the framework of the ECPGR Grant Scheme.
Forages 2020
"ECPGR WG for Forages towards 2020s"

Forages 2020 webpage

A start-up meeting of the management group was held on skype (6 March 2015). Another meeting within the management group took place on 9 June 2015.
Preparations are ongoing for the project workshop to be held 9-11 November 2015 in Alnarp, Sweden.
The workshop will include 4 sessions:
•    AEGIS process/progress
•    C&E databases
•    Crop wild relative conservation
•    Development of the workplan for the ECPGR Forages Working Group.

“Identification and update C&E data of AEGIS Triticum sp. accessions (TRAID)”

TRAID webpage

A workshop to be held 15-17 September 2015 in Tallinn, Estonia is being organized in collaboration with the Estonian Crop Research Institute (ECRI), Jõgeva.
Preparations are ongoing; data are being received for the updating of the European Wheat Database (EWDB).
Background documents to the workshop (draft agenda and draft list of participants) are available from the webpage.

“Building and promoting a European Pyrus collection – A case study (ECoHisPy - European Collection of Historical Pyrus)

EcoHisPy webpage

Partners agreed on the criteria to be used for the selection of candidate accessions of pear cultivars (cvs) for AEGIS and developed lists of “most original and with national historical origin” cultivars. The lists include a total of 248 accessions names, reduced to 224  after the identification of  synonyms. From a shorter priority list of European historical pear cultivars (8-10 historical cvs per country), ca. 150 are planned to be characterized by a defined set of SSRs markers at Agroscope, Switzerland.
ECoHisPy partners held a satellite meeting during the XIV EUCARPIA Symposium on Fruit Breeding and Genetics (Bologna, 15-18 June 2015) and made decisions concerning procedures for the sending of leaves to Agroscope.
To date, seven partners have already sent their samples representing a total of 84 pear cultivars; circa 100 additional cultivars leaves will be collected by eight partners and sent during summer.
A list of around 40 priority descriptors has been developed and documented in the “ECPGR Draft Methods and descriptor lists for the Characterization and Evaluation of pear biodiversity (Pyrus communis)”; these descriptors will be implemented by the partners during the coming months on the selected list of historical cvs.

“Collection, Characterization and Evaluation of wild and cultivated Brassicas”


Partners started sharing the accessions to be sown for the establishment of the characterization fields. Some wild Brassica species had a poor seed quality. Samples for biochemical and DNA analysis will be collected after summer.

Meetings attended by the Secretariat

Horizon 2020
The Secretariat was involved in the preparation of two project proposals that have successfully passed stage 1-evaluation and were invited to submit a full proposal under the second stage of evaluation. These were submitted by the deadline 11 June 2015. The ECPGR Secretary attended the following Consortium meetings:

4 May 2015, Schiphol, The Netherlands – PGRGOLD (Mining Plant Genetic Resources for the new gold – ensuring food security in a changing environment)

19-20 May 2015, Rome, Italy – REMBRANDT (Research to enhance management of Brassica genetic resources and human nutrition)

Upcoming travels of the Secretariat

14-18 September 2015, Pavia, Italy – II International Plant Science Conference “Not only food: sustainable development, agrobiodiversity conservation & human well being” (in connection with EXPO Milano 2015 “Feeding the planet, energy for life”)

Lorenzo Maggioni as invited speaker will present “Long-term conservation and facilities for an increased utilization of plant genetic resources: the AEGIS experience”.

Relations with users of germplasm

During the EUCARPIA Leafy Vegetables meeting in April 2015, the possibility was aired that  breeding companies could help ECPGR genebanks to remove regeneration backlogs.
In response to this, the US breeding company '3 Star Lettuce' offered to regenerate ~50 lettuce or chicory lines on an annual basis. One genebank from France has entered into a bilateral arrangement with '3 Star Lettuce' for the regeneration of endive chicory.
The offer remains open to other genebanks.

Links with other initiatives

Grain Legumes Working Group

ERA-CAPS project Bean_Adapt
“Evolution in a changing environment: the genetic architecture of adaptation outside centers of domestication of Phaseolus vulgaris and P. coccineus

On behalf of the WG on Grain Legumes, the Chair Creola Brezeanu will attend the kick-off meeting of the Bean_Adapt project in Bonn, Germany, 10-11 August 2015.

The main aim of this project, coordinated by Roberto Papa (University of Marche, Italy) and involving USA and European partners, is to dissect out the genetic basis and phenotypic consequences of the adaptation to new environments of the common bean and its sister species. The consortium will genotype and phenotype a large number of bean accessions from major genebanks and is seeking opportunities for collaboration with the ECPGR Working Group.

Documentation and Information Working Group / EURISCO

Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) Conference 2015

Stephan Weise, EURISCO Coordinator will attend the TDWG Conference, 28 September to 1 October 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya.

The theme of the conference is Applications, Standards and Capacity Building for Sustaining Global Biodiversity. Subprograms will include: Digitization, Semantic Technologies, Phyloinformatics, Outreach and Collaboration, ePublications, Trait Data, and Conservation informatics.



European Collection

Since May 2015 the European Collection has increased by 2603 accessions: 2203 from Switzerland, 392 from Germany and 8 from Albania, who contributed for the first time in July.

This brings the total number of accessions to 17 736.

(see full details of the European Collection)

Crop-specific standards

Crop-specific standards for field genebanks were finalised by the Allium WG in May 2015 and posted online (see Documents developed by the Allium WG and AEGIS crop-specific documents). As foreseen by the AEGIS Quality System (AQUAS), these standards will be sent to the Steering Committee for endorsement.

The process is currently under way for the Avena, Beta, Brassica and Umbellifer Crops WGs.

Record keeping, reporting and monitoring of the European Collection (AQUAS working document)

The draft paper shared with the Steering Committee in 2014 (see bulletin 1) received comments from a number of National Coordinators. A revised draft was prepared and is currently being reviewed by the ExCo prior to circulation to the Steering Committee.

Benefits of establishing and operating a European Collection of unique and important germplasm (Information paper)

Further to the circulation of the White paper on the slow rate of inclusion of accessions in the European Collection (see bulletin 1), it was pointed out by some SC members that the benefits of AEGIS and its European Collection are not sufficiently known, and that they are not equally relevant and applicable to the various stakeholder groups.
This information paper was therefore prepared to present the most important benefits at various levels: member countries, Associate Member institutes, and users of germplasm.
The first draft was shared with the ExCo on 13 July.


EURISCO Training Workshop 2015
National Focal Points Regional Training Workshop for Southeast Europe
19-21 May 2015, Tirana, Albania

The Workshop was held succesfully (see above, Implementation of the Activities under the First Call of the Grant Scheme).

The final draft report of the meeting and the presentations made by the participants are available online (EURISCO NFP Training Workshop webpage).

Publication highlight

Implementing the Nagoya Protocol

Coolsaet B. et al., editors. 2015. Implementing the Nagoya Protocol. Comparing Access and Benefit-sharing Regimes in Europe. Brill | Nijhoff

This book includes a chapter titled “Collecting Plant Genetic Resources in Europe: A Survey of Legal Requirements and Practical Experiences”, co-authored by Lorenzo Maggioni, Isabel López Noriega, Isabel Lapeña, Vojtech Holubec and Johannes Engels, with inputs from several National Coordinators and other ECPGR members.

Reminders / Action points


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 for Phase IX is always possible.
The lists are available online from the WG Members and Chairs webpage.

Keep on sending information on National Programme public awareness

The ECPGR website collects accounts of national public awareness initiatives. Eleven countries have contributed so far (see 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 Jan Engels (


Call for the hosting of the Mid-term Steering Committee Meeting

The Mid-term Steering Committee Meeting is scheduled for Spring 2016. The Secretariat is exploring convenient options for a suitable location. An offer received from Bosnia and Herzegovina is being considered.
Thank you for your inputs!
ECPGR and AEGIS website

ECPGR Information Bulletin No. 4

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