Crop wild relatives (CWR) are a precious source of genetic diversity and useful traits to enhance crop productivity and resilience. International bodies – including the Convention on Biological Diversity, the FAO Second Global Plan of Action for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture – have long recognized the need to conserve and document CWR.
The lack of information exchange and access to data are key factors affecting the conservation and use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and CWR documentation and information pose peculiar challenges. In the recently launched Plant Genetic Resources Strategy for Europe, endorsed by the ECPGR Steering Committee, CWR conservation, monitoring, access and use are addressed in various objectives and targets to be achieved by 2030.
Thanks to a new project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture and coordinated by ECPGR, the European plant genetic resources information system EURISCO will be enriched with in situ CWR data by the end of 2023.
The project ‘Extension of EURISCO for Crop Wild Relatives in situ data and preparation of pilot countries’ data sets’, will endow the European region with a centralized, public and web searchable inventory of passport data for in situ CWR priority populations that can be made in principle accessible to users. A fine-tuned data flow mechanism using an internationally agreed exchange standard will also be developed.
This new EURISCO feature will be compliant with the ‘FAIR principles’ of findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable data. The increased availability of data will facilitate the monitoring of key CWR populations and provide easy-to-access information to potential users seeking new resources for breeding and pre-breeding programmes.
The project will also provide capacity building to a pilot group of European countries to add their country data.
- Agricultural Research Institute, Lefkosia, Cyprus
- Crop Research Institute, Gene Bank, Prague, Czech Republic
- Information and Coordination Centre for Biological Diversity (IBV), Bonn, Germany
- Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) – Gatersleben, Germany
- Nature Research Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania
- Centre for Genetic Resources (CGN), Wageningen, the Netherlands
- Banco Português de Germoplasma Vegetal - Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária e Veterinária (BPGV-INIAV), Braga, Portugal
- Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain
- University of Birmingham, United Kingdom