In the week of 10 September, Hedwich Teunissen and Amanda van Dijk attended the UPOV working group meeting on molecular techniques. The meeting was held in Montevideo, Uruguay. Participating at this session by by people of Naktuinbouw with knowledge of both DNA and DUS was extremely worthwhile.
Review of two important documents on the agenda:
the TGP/15 and INF/17. A lot of information was also reported on developments in current projects in other countries, and international cooperation was given high priority on the agenda.
TGP/15 explains how DNA techniques can be used in DUS testing. The meeting concluded that the use of markers for resistance in tomatoes (such as I2 and Tm2/22) fulfils the requirements of TGP/15, as proposed by the Netherlands. These markers only solve a piece of the puzzle, as a single test does not provide results for all races of the disease. TGP/15 must therefore be supplemented with a more challenging example than the current one.
The Dutch proposal acknowledged
The proposal is (with crops where DUS testing usually takes two years) to determine the comparison varieties for the field trials on the basis of genetic similarity. This must also be described in TGP/15. Additional action will follow to write a clear, short descriptive text.
INF/17 was revised by Hedwich, in cooperation with bioGEVES and CPVO. The latest techniques are now mentioned. The new layout was appreciated, the detailed text proposal will appear on the agenda again next year.
DNA projects are costly
At a later stage savings must be made or quality improvements. The participants spoke in varying groups with other countries to find out which country was working on which crops, in order to possibly avoid duplication and therefore limit the costs. There are certainly possibilities, mainly in the larger vegetable crop groups. All participants recognised the importance of aspects such as confidentiality and ownership of rights. This topic will be put high on the agenda at next year's session. Hopefully companies in the sector will also indicate elements they are concerned about.
UPOV: International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants
BMT: UPOV - Working Group on Biochemical and Molecular Techniques and DNA-Profiling in Particular