New plant breeders’ rights protocol offers scope for potato seed RE SEARCH This first uniformity definition of an SIP hybrid potato variety may be somewhat subjective, but it will be agreed for following generations of varieties’, Hof emphasises. A difference compared to vegetative varieties is that the pigmented sprout characteristics are not included in the variety description of hybrid varieties. ‘UPOV remarks that for plant breeders’ rights it’s important to establish relevant characteristics. We’ve reasoned that pigmented sprouts are not relevant for this new application because you don’t see these characteristics during cultivation. It would be odd to ask a breeder to select by the uniformity of such a characteristic. You don’t have to select by this characteristic in conventionally-bred varieties, because they’re always uniform in a vegetatively-propagating crop’, Hof points out. Apply the maize model ‘As the SIP hybrid always shows some variation in the offspring, we use the well-known maize model for this type of hybrid potato. In this model, we include the parent lines in the variety description because they embed the identity of the hybrid. Bejo propagates the parent lines vegetatively, as a result of which the parents don’t change. This makes it possible to describe and assess these lines on the basis of the CPVO ‘What’s important here is whether the variety is sufficiently uniform in the relevant characteristics.’ protocol. As a result, Oliver has been given plant breeders’ rights together with both its parents’, Hof explains. When describing the stability of the variety, Hof goes back to the UPOV condition that if a variety is sufficiently uniform it’s automatically sufficiently stable. ‘We’ve checked this in practice by comparing forty tubers from the first secondary crop from seed, with the crop directly from seed. We’ve concluded that this hybrid is sufficiently stable’, Hof points out. National protocol in operation The experiences acquired with admitting the hybrid Oliver potato variety has resulted in a national protocol that, according to Hof, is very much like the conventional CPVO protocol. ‘In summary, there are four big differences. When determining the variety characteristics, the pigmented sprout is not included. In the experimental setup, we work twice with thirty individual plants and a trial field with a secondary crop of the tubers. Uniformity will now be based on the Oliver and in the future, we will calculate the trial field results at Naktuinbouw based on the relative variance method. Finally, for SIP hybrids, we will include the parent lines integrally as part of the variety description’, Hof summarises the protocol that has recently been approved by the Board for Plant Varieties. ‘For TPS, we chose to describe thirty individual plants at least twice and assess the yield from one trial field with first-generation tubers from seed’, Hof and Schipper explain. Subsequent steps What does it mean for the Dutch grower that the Oliver has now acquired plant breeders’ rights? ‘The variety is now protected, which means that other growers cannot grow them freely. Only growers who buy Oliver seed can grow them. However, as far as putting seed potatoes on the market is concerned, European Guideline 2002/56/EC only mentions the conditions for the cultivation of potatoes from tubers and not those for the cultivation of potatoes from seed. If ‘Brussels’ has its way, a potato grown from seed is currently not a potato, while it most definitely is a ‘Solanum tuberosum’, Hof points out the gap in EC legislation. Because of this, the European Commission published an implementation decree (2017/547)) this spring whereby a temporary experiment has been set up with the cultivation of potato products grown from real seed. This was done in order to gain an understanding of the quality standards and inspection that are necessary to guarantee the quality and the health of that seed and to determine at what stage and under what conditions the seed can be admitted to the certification scheme, the EU stated in its implementation decree. ‘It also appeared that, like varieties from tubers, potatoes from seed must first be tested via the Value for Cultivation and Use (VCU) Testing of Potatoes, before they can be marketed. That’s an important aspect because the VCU independently determines important characteristics such as the glycoalkaloid content of the tubers, Phytophthora, Yntn and X virus resistances. It is to be hoped that Bejo registers the Oliver for the Varieties List, so that we can also continue this process and provide clarity about the process of registration of hybrid varieties on the Varieties List’. ● Jaap Delleman Potato World 2017 • number 3 15 Pagina 14

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