On 05 May 2020, 50 representatives from the project partners in the EVA Wheat and Barley network met virtually to receive updates on current activities and discuss open questions and next steps for this project. Participants were informed about progress in the ongoing multiplication of accessions of different crop types, including impressions from the field during a virtual field trip. Genebank suppliers provided background information on selection criteria and origin of accessions used in the project. During parallel sessions for the northern, central and southern geographical zones in Europe, which focus on different but overlapping crop types for the evaluation, participants discussed traits, protocols and distribution of tasks.
Several task forces will be established as a result of this meeting, to define the genotyping methods, field trial setups, common standard protocols and data collection approaches, as well as an overall steering committee which should provide advice and oversight to the project.
All project partners reiterated their interest and commitment to this project, which continues to be open to new partners. Especially the central and southern zones noted a need for additional evaluation sites in different countries to complement those currently available.
The EVA Wheat and Barley network is well on track and will continue its work to evaluate accessions and landraces from European genebanks, starting the first evaluation field trials in Autumn 2020.