European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources on a Successful Path

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Marcel Bruins, the editorial director for European Seed, sat down with Sandra Goritschnig, scientific officer at the European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources (ECPGR) at the Euroseeds 2022 Congress to talk about the ECPGR and some of their successes.

“The ECPGR is a collaborative program of European countries and our current 35 Member States work together on improving conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources in Europe,” Goritschnig said. “We work through crop specific and thematic working groups, where we bring together crop our genetic resources specialists to work together on conservation and research projects.”

She said they maintain a European database on plant genetic resources — the UNESCO catalogue — in which they document more than two million plant accessions maintained in European gene banks and with their passport data, and, to a certain extent also characterization data. Since 2020, they have been publishing an open-access journal called Genetic Resources.

“This we do together with the European Regional focal point for animal genetic resources, the RFP,” she explained. “This journal provides a platform for our stakeholders to publish their research results, but also tools and reports that are relevant for their work. We manage project on crop wild relatives, where we improve the work on improving our knowledge and documentation using the year’s code database.”

Goritschnig said their plant genetic resources strategy for Europe published in 2021 identifies gaps in plant genetic resources conservation in Europe, as well as identifying necessary actions and step changes that are needed to ensure they maintain our genetic resources in Europe, while also promoting sustainable use and facilitating access to them.

To hear more, watch the interview above.