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Information Bulletin


No. 9 11 November 2016

A summary of activities prepared by the ECPGR Secretariat

to the attention of the National Coordinators
This issue covers the period 09 August - 10 November 2016.

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
Ninth Meeting of the Executive Committee (ExCo)

The meeting will take place 14-16 December 2016, Bioversity International, Maccarese, Italy.

ECPGR structure and modus operandi


Signature of memberships



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






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

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

One new Associate Membership Agreement was signed in August 2016 with Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária e Veterinária, I.P. (INIAV, I.P.),
Banco Português de Germoplasma Vegetal, Portugal.

Level of contributions received to date


Change in membership of ECPGR Bodies

National Coordinators (NCs) (full list available here)

Georgia: In October 2016, Mr David Bedoshvili was replaced by Mr Levan Ujmajuridze, Director of LEPL Scientific Research Center of Agriculture, Tbilisi.

Malta: confirmation about National Coordinator's contact details is pending.

United Kingdom: By end August 2016, Mr Julian Jackson was replaced by
Ms Sarah Cunningham,  from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

•  Working Group Chairs (full list available here)

Barley Working Group
Ahmed Jahoor requested to withdraw from his function of Chair and proposed that the role be taken over by Jan Svensson, from NordGen, who agreed. The validation procedure is under way.

Cucurbits Working Group
The replacement of former Chair Maria José Díez has not yet been successful through nominations made by National Coordinators. A request was sent by email on 2 November to all WG members to help identify a new Chair, either by volunteering or suggesting the name of a colleague in the WG.

ECPGR Activity Grant Scheme - Fourth Call
launched 30 September 2016

The Call was sent by email to the NCs, WG Chairs and WG members and the dedicated webpage was launched.

The deadline for submission of proposals is 30 November 2016.

ECPGR Activity Grant Scheme - Third Call

In May 2016 the ExCo selected for funding seven proposals submitted by the following Working Groups: Grain Legumes, Leafy Vegetables, MAP, Vitis, Wheat, On-farm Conservation and Management, Documentation and Information.

See details at
Outcomes of the Third Call

Latest updates on implementation:

Identification and updating data of eligible AEGIS accessions in both wheat and rye species (TRISECA)
The first step of the Activity (choice of candidate accessions to be included in the AEGIS collection) started in September 2016. At the beginning of August, the Activity Coordinator had sent to partners the background documents to be used for the selection of accessions. Lists of TRISECA accessions are being finalized.
The next step will be to improve passport data during winter, then characterization and evaluation (C&E) data during spring 2017, using field evaluation. C&E traits will be the same as those used last year in the TRAID Activity for wheat and those from the Secale Database for rye.

Consequences of climate change for conserving leafy vegetables CWRs in Europe (CCLEAFY)
The first step has started with the definition of the crop wild relative species of the different genepools for lettuce, chicory, spinach, artichoke, asparagus, rocket, rhubarb, garden cress, Good-King-Henry and corn salad.

Assessing linkages between genebanks and direct users (LINKAGES)
A small kick-off meeting will be held on 12 January 2017 at Bioversity International, Maccarese, Italy.

Promoting the implementation and the establishment of the European MAP Collection (MAPEUROCOLLECTION)
Preparations are starting for the meeting to be held in spring 2017 in Braga, Portugal.

ECPGR Activity Grant Scheme - Second Call

The full list of Activities is available at Outcomes of the Second Call.

Latest updates on implementation:

EURISCO National Focal Points Regional Training Workshop for Western European region
The focus of this workshop was on newly appointed National Focal Points (NFPs) and those who could bring characterization and evaluation (C&E) data in the proposed format for upload onto EURISCO.
The workshop was held in Angers, France, 12-14 October 2016, and brought together 13 participants. During the workshop, the participants were introduced to the re-engineered EURISCO system. The main focus was on the update process with special regard on uploading C&E data. NFPs tested uploading data of their National Inventories (NIs) and received responses from the system, and got guidance on interpreting and utilizing these responses to improve their data. The feedback on the uploading system and the search interface will support the further development of EURISCO.
The presentations given during the workshop are available online (

AEGIS progress and improved access to data on European Forage PGR (ForageDataAccess)
Integration of barley characterization and evaluation into EURISCO, and development of specifications for a barley crop portal, with a focus to improve the AEGIS collection (Barley C&E Data)
Partners of both Activities will hold a joint workshop in Malmö, Sweden, 14-16 March 2017.

Collaborative action for updating, documenting and communicating the cherry patrimonial richness in EU (EU.CHERRY)
The minutes of the kick-off meeting in Naoussa (April 2016) were finalized and published on the webpage. You can also access the file directly here.
By November 2016, a total of 325 cherry accessions were provided by 20 partners from EU.CHERRY and COST FA1104. The SSR analysis will be performed by the EMR lab (UK). The list of samples provided by each partner country is available from the webpage or directly here.

Increasing the efficiency of conservation of wild grapevine genetic resources in Europe (InWiGrape)
The module for inclusion of GPS data into the European Vitis Database in order to produce a distribution map of V. sylvestris is under development by partners from the JKI-Institute.
A short article about InWiGrape is under preparation for submission to the Vitis journal as Research Note.
The bibliography has already been updated with additional references and is still in progress.

CWR Conservation Strategies
Promoting implementation of national and regional CWR conservation strategies

A workshop titled “Plant genetic resources for food security and ecosystem services; planning and implementing national and regional conservation strategies” was held 19-22 September 2016 in Vilnius, Lithuania, jointly with the Nordic project “Ecosystem services: Genetic resources and crop wild relatives in the Nordic countries”.
The focus of the workshop was on planning and implementation of national and regional strategies for in situ and ex situ conservation of crop wild relatives. The aim was to develop specific policy recommendations on conservation, to facilitate knowledge exchange and to strengthen Nordic and European cooperation in this field.
The presentations made at the workshop are available from the
Joint Nordic/ECPGR Workshop webpage.

ECPGR Activity Grant Scheme - First Call

One new Activity report was finalized and is now available online:

COllection, CHaracterization and EVAluation of wild and cultivated BRASsicas (COCHEVA BRAS)

The Brassica collection characterized by the COCHEVA BRAS project showed the main differences between Portuguese and Italian accessions in terms of biomorphological, biochemical and genetic traits, and allowed identifying the Most Appropriate Accessions (MAAs) to be proposed for inclusion into AEGIS. A great variability was observed for biochemical compounds, both for the B. oleracea landraces and for the Brassica wild species (n=9) accessions evaluated. The genetic variability observed, for the SSR primers utilized and the sequence of the PCR products for the BoGSL ELONG primer, allowed individuating several SNPs useful to continue work for understanding the metabolic pathway for the glucosinolate biosynthesis.

You can click on image to access file directly.

For all Activities, details on the implementation and reports are available from the respective Activity webpages (listed at Outcomes of the First Call).

International meetings attended by the ECPGR Secretary and ExCo Chair

29 August - 1 September 2016, Zurich, Switzerland
20th EUCARPIA General Congress
"Plant Breeding, the Art of Bringing Science to Life"
This international event brought together scientists and researchers in all fields related to plant breeding. Participants discussed their research findings and their visions for meeting the great challenges of plant breeding in coming decades. Specific sessions were also held on conservation of genetic resources and pre-breeding. More information is available from the website. Videos of presentations are also available here

29 September 2016, Brussels, Belgium
EU workshop on draft guidance document for plant breeding sector

Eva Thőrn, Chair of the ExCo attended on behalf of ECPGR.
The meeting was attended by ca. 30 persons, mostly representing the private sector but also a few people from public institutions, associations, networks and NGOs.
The focus of the meeting was to discuss the classification of breeding activities being either inside or outside the scope of the EU ABS regulation (on compliance). The opinion among participants was that many of the Cases in the document were unclear and not very helpful for PGR users. Other common opinions were that a number of cases which were proposed to be covered by the regulation should be outside instead, such as “using commercial available varieties in breeding”, “use of hybrid components under a license agreement between breeders”, and some of the cases concerning forest breeding. Another general opinion was that there was a mix-up of compliance and  contractual issues (the latter which is not connected with the EU regulation).

It was obvious that breeding companies are concerned about the many complications in relation to the compliance issue which will arise and already now there is a tendency that breeders are using less PGR coming from outside and instead using what they have in their own collections.
The guidance document will be revised taking into consideration the comments received from the meeting. However, it is unsure whether such a document will facilitate the use of PGR in Europe. One of the problems is that the EU only regulates the users’ compliance with the Nagoya Protocol, while many countries outside or inside the EU tend to legislate on access independently form each other. This brings the risk of creating a labyrinth of access rules across Europe.

7 October, Italian Chamber of Deputies, Rome, Italy
Conference on "
The International Year of Pulses: Research and Policies for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security"

Lorenzo Maggioni attended the International Year of Pulses (IYP) 2016, which was celebrated on 7 October at the Italian Chamber of Deputies with a meeting organized in cooperation with a number of Italian research institutes.
This meeting provided the opportunity to present development and research initiatives on pulses at a national and international level, with special reference to the research project BEAN_ADAPT, coordinated by the Polytechnic University of Marche, aimed at identifying the genes in common bean that are responsible for adaptation to new environments.  
The project will develop special seed stocks of P. vulgaris (haplotypes of 10 000 accessions), along with associated genomic and phenomic information. These unique tools for plant scientists and breeders could possibly be deposited in a European genebank and ideally included into AEGIS and EURISCO. The Secretariat has started a discussion on this item with the BEAN_ADAPT Coordinator.

9-11 October 2016, Rome, Italy
European Seed Association Annual Meeting

The European Seed Association (ESA) held its 2016 Annual and European Seed Trade Meeting in Rome.
The meeting offered the latest updates and detailed information on the many crop-specific issues important for seed companies in Europe and worldwide,
More than 1000 participants joined the meeting from Europe and from all over the world.
A booth organized by ESA and Plantum focused the attention on genetic resources. A draft manual of recommendations for ESA members on how to follow the Rules of the EU ABS Regulation was made available for distribution.     
A public awareness video on “Biodiversity - a legacy for the future” was produced by ESA and shown during the meeting. Our colleagues Theo van Hintum and Rob Van Treuren from CGN contributed to this video, which is available from the
ESA home page.

27-28 October 2016, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Phenotyping, genotyping, breeding, reproduction techniques and evaluating alternative crop species for adaptation to climate change – state-of-art and opportunities for further cooperation
Workshop organized by the Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI)

Lorenzo Maggioni was invited to present the ECPGR Network.
The intention was to explore possible linkages to be developed between genebanks and the Pheno/Geno community.
The presentation on ECPGR raised interest, as the potential role of the European genebanks, with their needs and gaps, was made clear to the audience. Ulrich Schurr informed that he was promoting an initiative within the framework of DivSeek to explore potential use of phenotyping in genebanks (i.e using seed imaging for screening, sorting, evaluating health and germination potential, etc.). Interested European genebanks should be kept in the loop for this initiative.
Some of the critical topics discussed during the workshop were: issues of data organization, data quality, risks and benefits of open data access and intellectual property; multidisciplinary requirements to enable effective collaboration among different research sectors and the developing infrastructures; needs for funding aligned research priorities across borders; the risk was feared that distorted media perception might assimilate phenotyping and genotyping with the GMO issues and force similar regulatory requirements, i.e. for gene editing.
Workshop organizers managed to convene several actors working in the field from different angles and will elaborate inputs received and perspectives for fostering new linkages in a report that will be circulated to all participants for comments.

Upcoming meetings

14-16 November 2016, Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute, Radzików, Poland
Training workshop on in situ conservation of crop wild relatives
The workshop, organized by the Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute, Radzików, Poland, and University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK, as part of the ECPGR Wild Species Conservation in Genetic Reserves Working Group activities, will gather participants from stakeholders across disciplines in Poland.
The overall objective of the workshop is to strengthen national capacities in Poland for crop wild relatives (CWR) conservation and use. Although the focus of the workshop will be Poland, other countries from the Baltic region are also invited to attend at their own cost, so that an increased capacity for in situ conservation and use of CWR is established in the whole region.
See the
16 November, Cagliari, Italy
RIBES, una rete per la biodiversità: 10 anni di conservazione (RIBES, a network for biodiversity: 10 years of conservation)
Lorenzo Maggioni will attend this workshop, focused on the Italian RIBES network of botanical gardens for biodiversity conservation. He will offer a presentation highlighting the ECPGR Concept on Crop Wild Relatives and the roles of AEGIS and EURISCO.
24-25 November, Rome, Italy
First meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SCA) on Article 17 of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
Frank Begemann and Theo van Hintum will attend on behalf of the European Regional Group. In addition, Lorenzo Maggioni has also been invited to provide some further input from the point of view of ECPGR. 

Highlights of the agenda include:
•  Operations and Implementation of the Programme of Work
•  Design of the Global Portal
•  Standards and Common Data Formats: Implementing Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)
•  Transparency on the rights and obligations of the GLIS users
•  Partnerships, Collaborations and Capacity Development
•  Draft Monitoring and Assessment Mechanism
Working documents for the meeting will be published on
the website.
For ECPGR meetings, see also the Future Meetings webpage

Links with other initiatives

Vitis Working Group
The COST Action proposal Eurasian Wild and Bred Grapevine Diversity: Facing Changing Climates and Markets (EUGRAPE), resubmitted in April 2016, was not retained for funding.



European Collection

Since previous issue of the bulletin, the European Collection has increased by
52 accessions from Slovakia.

This brings the total number of European Accessions to 28 889.

Breakdown per contributor:  

For more details, click on map to access the webpage, or see full list of European Accessions.
Crop-specific standards

All standards agreed by the WGs are available from their respective WG's webpages, or all together here.
Operational genebank manuals

The manuals finalized by Associate Member Insitututes are available here.



EURISCO Training 2016 (approved under Second Call)
EURISCO National Focal Points Regional Training workshop for Western European region
The workshop was held 12-14 October 2016 in Angers, France.
(See above, ECPGR Activity Grant Scheme, Second Call)

Paper published online (August 2016)

Weise S, Oppermann M, Maggioni L, Hintum Th van. 2016.
EURISCO: The European search catalogue for plant genetic resources. Nucleic Acids Research (2016) doi: 10.1093/nar/gkw755

Meeting of the EURISCO Advisory Committee
14 October 2016, Angers, France

The agenda, list of participants, minutes of the meeting and presentations are available online (here).

Documents in preparation

Concept for on-farm conservation and management

A new draft was circulated to the SC on 29 September 2016. Comments are expected by 15 November.

Reminders / Action points

Follow-up on decisions made at the 14th SC meeting

Decision 16. Collection of Private Public Partnership examples at national level
Countries are requested to provide examples of Private Public Partnerships to the Secretariat for posting on the website. Please contact Elinor Lipman

Decision 31. ECPGR Strategy for PGRFA in Europe - Letter to the EU
Further to the circulation of the original draft letter, it was proposed to simplify the letter and to join forces with the other European networks for genetic resources: European Regional Focal Point for Animal Genetic Resources (ERFP), European Forest Genetic Resources Programme (EUFORGEN) and Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure (MIRRI). The respective Coordinators of these networks agreed to join and a new draft was prepared and agreed by all partners. The letter is ready to be sent as soon as the final report of the ‘Preparatory action on EU genetic resources’ will be published by the European Commission.

EURISCO Data Sharing Agreement (DSA)
Countries that have not yet done so (
Belgium, Greece, Israel, Macedonia FYR, Malta, Portugal, Serbia 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 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 Elinor Lipman (

Thank you for your inputs!
ECPGR and AEGIS website

ECPGR Information Bulletin No. 9

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