Overcoming barriers to the registration of new plant varieties under the DUS system

Chin Jian Yang, Joanne Russell, Luke Ramsay, William Thomas, Wayne Powell, Ian Mackay (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) is an intellectual property system introduced in 1961 by the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) for safeguarding the investment and rewarding innovation in developing new plant varieties. Despite the rapid advancement in our understanding of crop biology over the past 60 years, the DUS system has changed little and is still largely dependent upon a set of morphological traits for testing candidate varieties. As the demand for more plant varieties increases, the barriers to registration of new varieties become more acute and thus require urgent review to the system. To highlight the challenges and remedies in the current system, we evaluated a comprehensive panel of 805 UK barley varieties that span the entire history of DUS testing. Our findings reveal the system deficiencies such as inconsistencies in DUS traits across environments, limitations in DUS trait combinatorial space, and inadequacies in currently available DUS markers. We advocate the concept of genomic DUS and provide evidence for a shift towards a robust genomics-enabled registration system for new crop varieties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number302
Number of pages10
JournalCommunications Biology
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2021


  • Agricultural genetics
  • Genome-wide association studies
  • Plant breeding
  • Quantitative trait

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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