Title of the project Establishment of a system for the use of DNA markers for genetic identification and verification of varietal authenticity and purity of major cereals and brassicas as a basis for the quality production of seeds, food and feed




1. 11. 2018 – 31. 10. 2021


 dr. Vladimir Meglič (KIS)

Research group List of researchers and technical staff

Research organisation

Agricultural institut of Slovenia


Bibliography of the project


Short description of the research project


The key components of ensuring food safety and risk reduction for a successful agricultural production are seed quality and varietal genuineness, which are adapted to Slovenian growth conditions. New regulations, established by International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) on January 1st in 2017, are introducing more reliable procedures to verify varietal genuineness based on DNA markers. Giving the relevance of this issue, ISTA is currently in preparation for releasing a DNA-based Variety Identification Manual, which will be published in 2019. In its 2016 – 2017 report, the ISTA working group introduced wheat Short Sequence Repeats (SSR) markers. SSR markers are in general mostly used molecular tool for different plant breeds, although for some breeds more precise Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) markers are being introduced. (ISTA News Bulletin, 154, October 2017). In cooperation with Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Seed Schemes (OECD), the Service for Official Certification of Seed and Plant Propagation Material of Agricultural Plants (SUP) at Agricultural Institute of Slovenia was called upon to define biochemical and molecular analysis for varietal purity testing, identification and hybridization analysis within individual plant species, which also needed to be defined. In this regard a lot of attention is being drawn to application of DNA markers, while biochemical markers are increasingly more being replaced by the former. Lately, plant breeders are taking effort for each variety description to also include prescriptive methods for genetic identification and accessible genetic profile of specific loci in genome for effective and reliable identification of varieties. Subsequently plant breeders are interested in introducing new, effective and reliable variety identification methods to protect their “breeders’ rights”, for which DNA markers are most suitable. Most difficulties with official certification of plant material during vegetation occur with plants with atypical traits, especially within cereal and crucifer species, where variety identification is challenging. Same difficulties occur during laboratory analysis of seed quality, where seed morphologic traits can cause ambiguity when tested for varietal purity and germination, causing dubiety in plant variety, species and even genus. New varieties are becoming less indistinguishable by morphological traits, which make visual identification problematic. Within proposed project, we aim to establish a reliable and effective genetic tool which will be used for target identification of genus/species/variety of important cereal and crucifer members, if varietal purity and identification analysis of seed and plant material samples will not be able to provide definite results. Such established molecular marker system could enable genome-specific and variety differentiation both inter- and intra-species of cereal and crucifer species, produced in Slovenia. The established methods will also support with PRP (PRP control), especially regarding GEN_SOR demands.

The goals of proposed project are:

- Development and establishment of DNA marker-based genetic identification system for genus/species/variety of agronomical important species of cereals and crucifers registered in Slovenian or European variety list and whose plant material is grown or officially certified in Slovenia (e.g. Triticum aestivum L. Emend. Fiori et Paol. (Common wheat); Brassica napus L. (partim.) (Rapeseed); Fagopyrum esculentum (Moench) (Common buckwheat); Hordeum vulgare L. (Barley); etc.). This collection will also include species which are difficult to identify and distinguish on phenotypic and morphological levels of seeds, seedlings and plant traits in seed production.

- Optimization of current official certification procedures and verification methods of varietal genuineness, purity and determining detection levels of atypical plants (for self-pollinating hybrid varieties) and other plant varieties in seed tillage and seed partition. Moreover, application of DNA markers represents supporting tool in the case of doubts regarding to variety identification within the official procedure of certification establishing better quality of seeds on the market.

-  Preparation of methodological documents and information for establishing databases of varieties’ allele profiles registered in List of varieties, grown and officially certified in Sloveni