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Genetic resources and pre-breeding communities


A range of activities implemented by a wide range of stakeholders will seek to enhance management and use of GenRes and implement global commitments in this area. While the focus of activities is on Europe, international resources and activities shall be taken into account.

A. [2018]: Joining forces for GenRes and biodiversity management (CSA)

Activities will provide a framework in which the existing mosaic of European, national/regional structures can join forces to develop and implement ambitious approaches and strategies for the management of crop, forest and animal GenRes. In addition to advancing individual roadmaps, inventories and information tools for crop, forest and animal GenRes, cooperation between the different communities shall foster GenRes conservation within a wider (agro) biodiversity context. Particular care shall be taken to building and widening capacities across Europe and neighbouring countries (including Mediterranean countries), exchanging best practices, harmonising standards as well as sharing resources and data.

B. [2019]: Adding value to plant GenRes (RIA)

Activities will improve processes, tools and know-how associated with a dynamic management and documentation of GenRes collections (both ex-situ and in-situ, as appropriate). They will add value to the preserved germplasm to promote its use in breeding, farming, forestry and by consumers. Work will enable the development and testing of solutions to enhance quality and efficiency of operations and services across collections. Major efforts should go into capturing and characterising the genetic diversity in germplasm and revealing novel information to users. This will include acquiring comprehensive and more precise genotypic and phenotypic information on GenRes material, understanding the connections between the two, how they vary in different environmental contexts and having in place appropriate (bioinformatic) tools for data processing, exchange and visualisation. Due account shall be given to disclosing the potential of less adapted material from genebanks/in-situ conservation sites in relation to valuable traits associated with resilience, adaptability and quality of crops.

Proposals should foresee a task for joint activities with other projects financed under this topic.

C. [2020]: The GenRes-user interface and pre-breeding activities (IA)

Activities will accelerate the mobilization of GenRes from in-situ and/or ex-situ collections to benefit plant breeding and the delivery of new varieties which are better adapted to variable environments and consumer demands. They will tackle the GenRes-user interface, i.e. propose improvements to the information available to users with regard to characteristics of accessions and also to the visualisation of this information. Major resources shall be devoted to pre-breeding activities implemented in close cooperation between public, private and non-for profit sectors. The involvement of SMEs is crucial and will be fostered through targeted calls and financial support to third parties[[In line with Article 23(7) of the Rules for participation the amount referred to in the last paragraph of Article 204 of the Financial Regulation may be exceeded, where achieving the objectives of the action would otherwise be impossible or overly difficult.]]. Due attention shall be given to pre-breeding activities undertaken across Europe ad covering different pedo-climatic regions

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 3 million for sub-topic A, EUR 7 million for sub-topic B and EUR 7 million for sub-topic C would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Genetic resources (GenRes) play a crucial role in agricultural activities and sustainable forest management in Europe. They hold the key to the adaptation of plants and animals to a changing and more variable climate, yet their diversity remains largely underused in current breeding, farming and forest management. Conservation efforts (in-situ, ex-situ) aim to capture, preserve, evaluate and make available a substantial share of these global assets. However, access to resources is often limited by the quality of the material and the information provided by the various conservation sites. With increasing concerns over biodiversity loss and genetic erosion, there is a need to step up collaborative efforts to expand and improve the preservation, evaluation and the use of plant and animal GenRes in farming and forestry.

Activities will enhance the status of genetic resources and increase effectiveness of conservation efforts, in particular in Europe.

In the short to medium term work will:

  • result in the development and/or implementation of integrated strategies for conservation and use of crop, forest and animal GenRes as well as for wider biodiversity (sub-topic A);
  • enhance user oriented services provided by networks involved in plant (agriculture and forestry), and animal GenRes management (sub-topic A);
  • help establishing high quality, harmonised standards for the management and description of GenRes across Europe (and beyond) (sub-topics A and B);
  • increase the quantity and quality of data in established information systems for crop, forest and animal GenRes (sub-topics A and B);
  • promote innovative ways of sharing resources and services between genebanks/in-situ conservation sites in Europe and beyond (sub-topics A and B);
  • develop methods and tools for greater insight into the characteristics and the value of collections (sub-topic B);
  • create novel services for users within and outside the conservation communities (sub-topic B).
  • improve tools to display user-friendly information on accessions and their characteristics (scope C)
  • speed up the introduction of useful characteristics from GenRes into breeding (scope C)
  • promote the delivery of new varieties which are fit for purpose as regards changing environmental / climatic conditions and consumer demands (scope C)

In the long term activities will allow tapping into the vast potential of GenRes more effectively in order to meet current and future needs of food security, the delivery of non-food products from primary production and support the different functions of forestry.