Please contact: Elizabeth Scott
Varieties of Agricultural crops can only be marketed in the UK and within the European Union if they are on the National List of the species in question.
To be on the National List a variety must have ‘added value’. This is established by growing new varieties in comparative trials over two years (VCU- Value for Cultivation and Use). Improved bread making quality in wheat, improved malting quality in barley, higher yields, better disease resistance over existing varieties are all examples of added value.
In addition, a new variety must be Distinct from other varieties within the species, Uniform in the characters used to identify a variety and Stable in those characters from one year to the next. Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) is established by growing replicate material in parallel tests to the VCU. If the variety is successful, then at the end of the two years testing a description of the variety is completed and registered with the Plant Variety Rights Office (PVRO).
All plant species can be protected by Plant Variety Rights (PVR). However for a new species to be accepted for DUS testing, plant breeders must prove a new variety has been “developed” i.e. a conscious selection has taken place to improve an aspect of performance in varieties of agricultural crops. Such an approach is essential to protect wild species and ensure that new applications are not plants removed from the wild