DUS tests are carried out to ensure that a new variety is Distinct from existing varieties, that its characteristics are Uniform, and that the variety is Stable with consistent phenotypic characteristics from one generation to the next.
DUS tests are carried out in accordance with harmonised EU protocols, based on plant material provided by the applicant. A variety description is produced, which is used to identify the variety. This description and plant material can later provide the basis for seed certification and plant variety protection applications.
DUS tests are harmonised at European and international levels, through the CPVO and UPOV respectively. They are conducted in accordance with the CPVO protocol in force. The characteristics studied and the standards of acceptation are specific to the species in question, taking into consideration their genetic structure (pure, hybrid or population lineage) and the method of reproduction (self-pollinated, cross-pollinated).
The DUS test generates a description of the variety detailing its relevant characteristics. For fruit crops, morphological features and colour are mostly used (leaf shape, fruit colour, etc.) as well as phenological features such as flowering and ripening phases.
For fruit species (except Lonicera), technical examinations are carried out by INRA and its teams at Avignon, Bordeaux and Angers. GEVES is responsible for supervising this system, which is entrusted by the Community Plant Variety Office for apples, pears and their rootstocks, apricots, peaches, Japanese plums, and cherries and their rootstocks. To assess the distinctness of candidate varieties compared to well-known varieties, INRA has extensive collections of well-known reference varieties.