Providing plant genetic resources to the MLS

In many cases breeders also support genebanks by directly providing them with accessions of plant genetic resources which are then available under the conditions of the Multilateral System of the International Treaty. The German Varieties for Diversity initiative is a well-known example but similar projects are actually undertaken in a number of other countries such as the Netherlands, France, Czech Republic, UK, Sweden. 


Founded in 1965, PRO-MAÏS is a nonprofit breeders’ organization that aims at advancing the study and improving maize. 10 breeding companies are members of Pro-maïs.  PRO-MAIS's activity is twofold: (i) maintenance of maize genetic resources; (ii) research projects on maize genetic resources, on evaluation, management and methodology, on creation of new skills and resources for private breeders, etc.

Pro-maïs members in close collaboration with INRA have been active in maize genetic resources network in order to manage the genetic resources on long term perspectives. Based on this work, in 2009, Pro-maïs and INRA have notified a collection of 533 accessions of maize PGRFA to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.


Contact person for more information: Jean Beigbeder

Nordic pre-breeding projects

A major initiative on pre-breeding/disease resistance breeding has been initiated in the Nordic countries, with support from the Nordic Council of Ministers. Pre-breeding projects were launched in spring barley, apples (disease resistance pre-breeding) and perennial ryegrass (adaptation to changing climatic conditions).

The projects are financed according to a public-private partnership (PPP) agreement with 50% public funding and 50% funding from participating companies. The companies financing part can be (partly) in kind contribution. The R&D work of the projects will be executed at Nordic Agricultural Universities as well as at the R&D/Breeding Departments of participating companies. The total budget for these PPP-projects is approx. € 1.1 million, split 50/50% public/private.

Pre-breeding lines generated in this project will be shared between the participating companies as well as being handed over to the Nordic Gene Bank (NordGen) collection and thereby accessible to the rest of the global breeding community.

The launch year of this PPP initiative was 2011 – to end in 2013 but due to good progress the project has been extended to continue also during2014. A new launch of Nordic PPP-initiatives is foreseen in autumn 2014.


Contact person for more information: Swedish Seed Trade Association – Per Henriksson (

BSPB collection at the John Innes Centre

BSPB members routinely deposit material of their national list entries for new cereal varieties into a special BSPB collection at the John Innes Centre Germplasm Resources Unit (approximately 100 new lines annually).

Once material is national listed it is transferred into the main BBSRC collections from which it is available to users under the terms of the Multilateral System of the International Treaty.


Contact person for more information: Mike Ambrose (John Innes Centre) +44 (0) 1603 450000 |


Technical Input CGN

Dutch breeders have so far directly provided 6% of the collection of 24000 accessions of the CGN. 2/3 of these accessions belong to vegetable species and 1/3 to field crops. Breeders continue to provide materials if the available material to be provided strengthens the collection.

Through the "crop working groups" of CGN clear strategies are developed on how to optimize the current collections of CGN and extend the collection with new vegetable crops. Companies may either contribute to the existing collections with new varieties, or assist in developing new collections with old and new material from their own collections. Those new collections will be made available to third parties under the conditions of the SMTA.


Contact person for more information: or


Varieties for Diversity

German plant breeders have, in co-operation with the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection as well as the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food, initiated the “Varieties for Diversity” initiative. This is the first time ever that protected premium plant varieties of German breeders are included in the MLS of the ITPGR.

They are comprehensively described and even descriptions of climatic adaptation have been added to facilitate a targeted selection of suitable plant material. The varieties can be easily accessed by anybody in the world via the German National Inventory of Plant Genetic Resources.

Anybody who wants to access these genetic resources needs to sign the sMTA. Additional agreements may include that the recipient will pay the cost for shipping as well as for the necessary plant health certificates. For the genetic resources themselves no payment is charged.


Contact person for more information:


Collections of the National Programme

New genetic resources are provided by private breeders also directly to gene banks. These genetic resources are coming from their own breeding work and also from their collecting expeditions in the Czech Republic and abroad. These genetic resources may be made available to third parties.

The following table provides an overview of genetic resources provided by domestic breeding organizations in the collections of the National Programme during the past 10 years:



No. of  GRs from breeders

Winter barley










Winter wheat










Spring wheat








Field bean




Other crops (33)





Contact person for more information: Vojtěch Holubec


Material in Transition

The MIT (Material in Transition) agreement between the company Lantmännen (formerly SW Seed) and NordGen is a good example of providing PGR to gene banks.

The scope of this agreement is that NordGen will, annually, be given access to a large number (several hundreds) of advanced breeding lines, in several crops, including full data packages and DUS protocols. These MIT-lines will remain the property of the breeding company during the final VCU evaluation and possible Plant Breeders Right protection

During this period NordGen cannot distribute accessions of the lines without the consent of the donor – on the other hand the company cannot withdraw MIT-lines from the NordGen collection. After the final DUS evaluation of the MIT-lines/varieties, the material will be transferred to the category of fully accepted (ACC) material and thereby fully publicly available from NordGen to any third parties.


Contacts for more information:

Lantmännen – Bo Gertsson  (

NordGen – Jette Nydam Hansen (

Swedish Seed Trade Association – Per Henriksson (


Planta RES

PLANTA RES is a national network financed by the Italian Ministry for agriculture and consisting of several participants including all the local research units of CRA (National council for agricultural research). The database of Planta Res currently includes 241 genera and about 861 species, for a total of 48.987 accessions.

Work of the network includes collecting samples of genetic resources, defining a system of unique descriptors for the material and cataloguing them. Such accessions are then placed in the MLS of the International Treaty and exchanged by using the sMTA. CRA (in its capacity as breeder) is a member of ASSOSEMENTI (the Italian seed association). Exchanges and cooperation between seed companies and the research units of CRA are common practice.


Contact person: Dr. F. Roberto De Salvador