Trait Breeding and Plant Varietal Rights

  • Seyed Hossein Jamali


This chapter looks at the relationship between plant breeding and trait breeding. It details the problem of variety ownership boundaries and the concept of essentially derived varieties (EDV). The chapter looks at the impact of patented accelerated breeding methods. It looks at the technical distinctness, uniformity, and stability (DUS) requirements of the UPOV system which largely rely on morphological (phenotypic) traits irrespective of their value for cultivation and use of a newly bred variety. The chapter examines the Australian approach for resolving varietal disputes and concludes with an examination of the challenges of genome editing technologies.


Trait breeding UPOV requirements Essentially derived variety Accelerated breeding Genome editing 


  1. Abe, F., Haque, E., Hisano, H., et al. (2019). Genome-edited triple-recessive mutation alters seed dormancy in wheat. Cell Reports, 28(5), 1362–1369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Annicchiarico, P., Nazzicari, N., Ananta, A., et al. (2016). Assessment of cultivar distinctness in alfalfa: A comparison of genotyping-by-sequencing, simple-sequence repeat marker, and morphophysiological observations. The Plant Genome, 9(2), 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arens, P., Mansilla, C., Deinum, D., et al. (2010). Development and evaluation of robust molecular markers linked to disease resistance in tomato for distinctness, uniformity and stability testing. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 120, 655–664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arora, S., Steuernagel, B., Gaurav, K., et al. (2019). Resistance gene cloning from a wild crop relative by sequence capture and association genetics. Nature Biotechnology, 37, 139–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. ASTA, American Seed Trade Association. (2004). ASTA position statement on intellectual property rights for the seed industry. Accessed 1 Jan 2020.
  6. Chen, K., Wang, Y., Zhang, R., et al. (2019). CRISPR/Cas genome editing and precision plant breeding in agriculture. Annual Review of Plant Biology, 70, 667–697.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen, L., & Liu, Y. G. (2014). Male sterility and fertility restoration in crops. Annual Review of Plant Biology, 65, 579–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cockram, J., Jones, H., Norris, C., et al. (2012). Evaluation of diagnostic molecular markers for DUS phenotypic assessment in the cereal crop, barley (Hordeum vulgare ssp. vulgare L.). Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 125, 1735–1749.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cockram, J., Norris, C., & O’Sullivan, D. M. (2009). PCR-based markers diagnostic for spring and winter seasonal growth habit in barley. Crop Science, 49, 403–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dirks, R., Van Dun, K., De Snoo, C. B., et al. (2009). Reverse breeding: A novel breeding approach based on engineered meiosis. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 7, 837–845.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fradgley, N., Gardner, K. A., Cockram, J., et al. (2019). A large-scale pedigree resource of wheat reveals evidence for adaptation and selection by breeders. PLoS Biology, 17, e3000071.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hajjar, R., & Hodgkin, T. (2007). The use of wild relatives in crop improvement: A survey of developments over the last 20 years. Euphytica, 156(1-2), 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Haudry, A., Cenci, A., Ravel, C., et al. (2007). Grinding up wheat: A massive loss of nucleotide diversity since domestication. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 24(7), 1506–1517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Heckenberger, M. (2004). Identification of essentially derived varieties in maize (Zea mays L.) using molecular markers, morphological traits, and heterosis. Ph.D. thesis, University of Hohenheim, Accessed 1 Jan 2020.
  15. Hills, M. J., Hall, L., Arnison, P. G., et al. (2007). Genetic use restriction technologies (GURTs): Strategies to impede transgene movement. Trends in Plant Science, 12, 177–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. ISF, International Seed Federation. (2012). ISF view on intellectual property. Accessed 1 Jan 2020.
  17. ISF, International Seed Federation. (2014). Guidelines for the handling of a dispute on essential derivation in maize lines. Accessed 1 Jan 2020.
  18. Jamali, S. H., Cockram, J., & Hickey, L. T. (2019). Insights into deployment of DNA markers in plant variety protection and registration. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 132(7), 1911–1929.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Janis, M. D., & Smith, S. (2007). Technological change and the design of plant variety protection regimes. Chicago-Kent Law Review, 82(3), 1557–1615.Google Scholar
  20. Lesser, W., & Mutschler, M. (2004). Balancing investment incentives and social benefits when protecting plant varieties. Crop Science, 44, 1113–1120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lombardo, L. (2014). Genetic use restriction technologies: A review. Plant Biotech Journal, 12, 995–1005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nair, S. K., Wang, N., Turuspekov, Y., et al. (2010). Cleistogamous flowering in barley arises from the suppression of microRNA-guided HvAP2 mRNA cleavage. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(1), 490–495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Noli, E., Teriaca, M. S., & Conti, S. (2013). Criteria for the definition of similarity thresholds for identifying essentially derived varieties. Plant Breeding, 132(6), 525–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Oxfam. (2018). The status of patenting plants in the Global South. The Hague, The Netherlands: Oxfam Novib.Google Scholar
  25. Prifti, V. (2017). The breeder’s exception to patent rights as a new type of research exception. Rights and Science, 109–116.
  26. Sanderson, J. (2017). Plants, people and practices: The nature and history of the UPOV convention. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Schinkel, H., & Schillberg, S. (2016). Genome editing: Intellectual property and product development in plant biotechnology. Plant Cell Reports, 35(7), 1487–1491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Smith, S., Bubeck, D., Nelson, B., et al. (2015). Genetic diversity and modern plant breeding. In M. Ahuja & S. Jain (Eds.), Genetic diversity and erosion in plants (Sustainable Development and Biodiversity, Vol 7). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.Google Scholar
  29. Tanksley, S. D., & McCouch, S. R. (1997). Seed banks and molecular maps: Unlocking genetic potential from the wild. Science, 277(5329), 1063–1066.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. UPOV, International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. (2013). Guidance on the use of biochemical and molecular markers in the examination of distinctness, uniformity and stability (DUS). TGP/15. Accessed 1 Jan 2020.
  31. UPOV, International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. (2014). The use of molecular markers (SNP) for maize DUS testing. BMT/14/10. Accessed 1 Jan 2020.
  32. UPOV, International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. (2017). Explanatory notes on essential derived varieties under the 1991 Act of the UPOV convention. UPOV/EXN/EDV/2. Accessed 1 Jan 2020.
  33. UPOV, International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. (2018). Use of SNP markers for soybean variety protection purposes in Argentina. Accessed 1 Jan 2020.
  34. Van Eeuwijk, F., & Law, J. (2004). Statistical aspects of essential derivation, with illustrations based on lettuce and barley. Euphytica, 137, 129–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Van Wijk, A., & Louwaars, N. (2014). Framework for the introduction of plant Breeder’s rights: Guidance for practical implementation. Roelofarendsveen, The Netherlands: Naktuinbouw.Google Scholar
  36. Wang, C., Liu, Q., Shen, Y., et al. (2019). Clonal seeds from hybrid rice by simultaneous genome engineering of meiosis and fertilization genes. Nature Biotechnology, 37(3), 283–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Watson, A., Ghosh, S., Williams, M. J., et al. (2018). Speed breeding is a powerful tool to accelerate crop research and breeding. Nature Plants, 4, 23–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zhang, R., Liu, J., Chai, Z., et al. (2019). Generation of herbicide tolerance traits and a new selectable marker in wheat using base editing. Nature Plants, 5, 480–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seyed Hossein Jamali
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ResearcherMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations