Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/20/2010
Publication Date: 6/7/2010
Citation: Ellis, D.D., Campbell, K., Grotenhuis, J.A., Jenderek, M.M., Pedersen, J.F. 2010. Crop Registration: The Pathway to Public Access of Plant Genetic Materials to Build Crops for the Future. Crop Science. 50:1151-1160.
Interpretive Summary: The registration of crop genetic materials is an important pathway to publically describe and document new and improved plant materials (cultivars, germplasm releases, genetic stocks, parental lines, or mapping populations) and to incorporate these new materials into the public domain via the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS). Compiling data and researching these registration materials is difficult due to registration articles being published inconsistently in three different journals over the past 80 years. Further issues have recently focused on Intellectual Property rights over the public release of the plant genetic materials and international treaties governing the use of plant genetic resources. By reviewing the history of crop registrations, many of the root causes of the issues with investigating and researching registration materials are explained and solutions, such as the listing of registration materials in a searchable database on Germplasm Resources Information Network, are highlighted. Further, improvements in the acceptance and distribution policy of registration materials have been made to alleviate some of the concerns with Intellectual Property and use of plant genetic resources. It is clear that the registration of crop genetic materials is a healthy viable dynamic system which should meet the needs of breeders and researchers over the next 80 years.
Technical Abstract: Starting as Crop Science Registrations in the American Journal of the Society of Agronomy in 1926, and continuing 80+ years later in the Journal of Plant Registrations, 11,241 plant cultivars, germplasm, parental lines, genetic stocks and mapping populations have been registered as of December 31, 2008. The registration process has provided a means to recognize the work of breeders who develop new crop genetic materials. In addition to recognition, registration of crop genetic materials continues to be an important pathway to publically describe and document a new cultivar, germplasm release, genetic stock, parental line, or mapping population and to incorporate these new materials into the public domain via the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS). Criticism has justifiably been targeted at the difficulty in researching past crop registrations, yet the recent ability to search Crop Registration materials on-line via the Germplasm Resources Information System (GRIN) has alleviated some of these search difficulties. Despite these difficulties, demand for registered materials has consistently been high with over 9,150 registered accessions distributed in the past 26 years through the NPGS. As global crop and germplasm exchange is dynamic in terms of evolving external factors such as Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and international treaties (The International Treaty on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture), the guidelines for the registration of crops continue to evolve to accommodate genetic materials covered by these global factors. Together with 1) the advent of the new Journal of Plant Registrations; 2) the facilitated search capabilities of registration materials (GRIN); 3) the continual progress in the development and definition of genetic materials needing registered (cultivars, germplasm, genetic stocks, parental lines and mapping populations); and 4) the evolution in the recognition and allowance of IPR rights: the registration of crops is a healthy viable dynamic registration system which should meet the needs of breeders and researchers over the next 80 years.