Variety Study Department (SEV)
Each year the SEV studies up to 2500 new plant varieties including 60 field crop species, 60 vegetable species and 275 ornamental species, as well as fruit species and vines in collaboration with INRA.
The primary mission of GEVES’s Variety Study Department is to carry out field and greenhouse tests for all cultivated plant species. These tests are used for:
- Registering a variety in the Official Catalogue of plant varieties
- Protecting a variety with a Plant Variety Right
- Checking the identity and purity of commercial seed lots, especially for Certification
Three types of evaluations are carried out in accordance with EU regulations:
Furthermore, the Variety Study Department carries out methodological research, generally in collaboration with public or private organizations. This research aims to improve methods used to describe and evaluate varieties. The Variety Study Department also participates in the training of French and international experts.
Ressources and Organisation
The SEV’s 130 agents are spread over 5 main testing stations (350 hectares of testing surface, and 1 hectare of greenhouses). In addition, the SEV has a further 7 smaller units that are associated with INRAE testing stations. The SEV management is based at GEVES’s headquarters in Beaucouzé, including the Secretary General of the CTPS.
- The common catalogue, created in 1972, is now defined as the sum of the national catalogues of the 27 member states. Varieties registered in one of these member states can then be marketed throughout the EU.
- Plant variety rights are now recognised and implemented by 68 countries that have signed the international UPOV Convention.
- Novelty criteria and DUS tests (not VCUS) provide the basis for granting plant variety rights, either in France by INOV, and in Europe by the CPVO, in accordance with the UPOV Convention.
International Cooperation for DUS testing
The 1991 UPOV Convention specifies that a national authority may carry out DUS examinations itself or choose to carry them out in cooperation with other members of the Union or with breeders, or to use the results of a DHS examination which has already been carried out.
In France, there are several systems for carrying out DUS testing:
- GEVES carries out DUS testing at its own stations for a large number of species.
- For some species, GEVES delegates DUS tests to other institutes in France, such as apple DUS tests carried out by INRAE Angers.
- For other species, GEVES delegates DUS tests to other European Examination Offices entrusted by the CPVO; and conversely, GEVES may carry out DUS tests at the request of other foreign Offices.
For example, DUS tests of new potato varieties are not carried out by GEVES but by the German Office. Conversely, for sorghum and durum wheat, for example, there are no DUS tests conducted in Germany since GEVES carries out DUS tests on their behalf.
These cooperations are conducted in the framework of International Cooperation Agreements in DUS Testing. Cooperation Agreements are signed bilaterally between the Offices. These agreements stipulate the species concerned, practical arrangements for deadlines, quantities of plant material, financial arrangements, obligations of confidentiality and impartiality inherent in DUS studies, obligations to report results, etc.
These agreements allow each signatory Office to optimise the management of its DUS trials and its plant variety protection or listing system. The benefits of cooperation include, for example, reducing time and costs associated with DUS testing and having access to specialised resources which are otherwise not available to the Office. The centralisation of DUS testing by species allows the concentration of expertise on species and the concentration of resources dedicated to managing reference collection which can be very costly.
Concretely, in 2021, GEVES conducted 2,712 DUS cycles including 91 DUS studies on behalf of European examination offices and conversely subcontracted 262 DUS cycles to other examination offices.
Mr Fabien MASSON
Director of the SEV
Ms Rachel TESSIER
SEV Executive Assistant
Ms Virginie BERTOUX
Secretary General of the CTPS
Ms Clarisse LECLAIR
Head of DUS affairs
International cooperation in DUS examination
Technician Liaison Officer for CPVO
Ms Julie GOMBERT
Head of VCUS affairs
Head of Rapeseed and other Cruficers VCUS
Ms Camille ZITTER
International cooperation in DUS examination
Ms Valérie CADOT
Head of VCUS Bioagressor Resistance Testing
Mr Jean-Philippe GALICHET
Head of SEV Quality
Ms Carole DIRWIMMER
Technical Secretary for Fruit trees