Recent developments in the Technical Working Parties at UPOV
CIOPORA is a permanent observer of UPOV, having active participation in its Council, Administrative and Legal Committee (CAJ), Technical Committee (TC), and Technical Working Parties (TWPs). During 2022, CIOPORA has attended all the key meetings organized at the TWPs. This is a report on the most relevant developments resulting from technical discussions that took place during the TWPs.
Preparation prior to the meetings
Introductory meetings were held between CIOPORA team and the Technical Head Experts in each of the crop sections to establish a proper strategy on how to approach every TWP. Moreover, all relevant breeders were contacted to get feedback on the respective Technical Guidelines (TG) under discussion. In the specific case of cannabis, additional meetings took place with the leader expert designed by UPOV before the TWA.
Technical Working Party for Agricultural Crops 51th Session (TWA/51)
During CIOPORA’s first-time participation in the TWA, the main interest was focused on the TG of cannabis as part of the efforts to deliver a functional document adapted for the current needs of the breeders in this industry. Part of the main significant changes to the cannabis TG include the addition of “Cannabis” as a common name of the crop, as currently is only indicated as hemp and the change makes it more inclusive for all varieties.
Another important change has to do with the TCH content, which will be excluded for the classification of the variety types (currently fixed at 0.2%). Instead, it was proposed that the plant material would be assessed in terms of its intended used (e.g. medicinal, fiber, seeds) and propagation method (seeds, feminized seeds and vegetatively propagated). Most important, a new characteristic considering CBG content will be added leading to an enlarge the chemical profile.
The relevance of some characters was brought up for discussion. It will be checked among the examination offices the possibility to remove the evaluation of anthocyanin coloration of petioles whether for certain types of cannabis or for all of them. The stability of the proportion of hermaphrodite plants will also be verified to assess the possibility to remove it as a characteristic. The depth of grooves in the stem will be deleted for all vegetatively propagated varieties, as it was agreed that it tends to be unstable.
CIOPORA also suggested the addition of a new characteristic for the thickness of the apical inflorescence (diameter of the apical flower), which is being considered. This is an important characteristic to distinguish among highly productive varieties.
Technical Working Party for Ornamental Plants and Forest Trees 54th Session (TWO/54)
New initiatives on the use of disease resistance in Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) tests of ornamentals were presented. Still, there are a few challenges to be overcome by the Examination Offices (EOs) for full implementation concerning maintenance of inoculum.
New types and species, especially those crops with agricultural use, are becoming more popular for registration as ornamentals varieties. Colocasia esculenta was reported as an example by experts of the EU.
It was mentioned the cooperation between breeders’ associations in relation to the task force on confidentiality and ownership of molecular information. This initiative performed in the past a survey among breeders to characterize the use of molecular information and revealed the concern about the disclosure between PVP offices.
The TG in Amaryllis included the reduction in notes of expressions from 9 to 5 for several characteristics.
Anthurium TG revision was finalized and sent for approval to the TC. The characteristic “tapering towards the top of the spadix” was reduced from 9 to 5 notes of expression.
Lavender, oxypetalum, weigela did not include addition or deletion of characteristics, only minor changes in the wording of the guidelines.
Calluna and statice TG revision were also finalized and sent for approval.
Magnolia TG examination could not reach a consensus about the quality of grow habit, it will be reviewed again next year.
Poinsettia TG added one new characteristic (“secondary color of the bract”), which is necessary for the distinction between candidate varieties. Additionally, more detailed questions will be included in the Technical Questionnaire (TQ) about the phytosanitary status of phytoplasmas.
A partial revision to modify the TQ of the Technical Guideline in rose will be summited to the
Technical Committee for final approval. The new version of the TQ includes new characteristics taken from section 7 in the TG, and these are the “number of prickles”, “predominant color of prickles”, “number of petals”, “shape of flowers”, and “flower fragrance”. One characteristic (“main color on the outer side of the petal”) was removed for the TQ.
The new crops that will be under revision next year are Ginkgo, Lotus, and Leucanthemum. Therefore, breeders working in these crops are encouraged to participate with their feedback.
In general, the discussion of each TG takes in average 3 years before final adoption.