In order to satisfactorily perform DUS trials which, it will be recalled, are essentially a series of comparisons; a substantial collection of reference varieties must be assembled and held viable and ready to be incorporated into plots in the field. Over the forty-plus years of variety testing at SASA and its antecedents, very substantial collections have been amassed and maintained here. Stored in conditions of low temperature and humidity and regularly monitored for viability, these reference collections, as well as providing the foundation for DUS trials, also represent a very significant crop genetic resource relevant to the UK’s commitment to international treaties such as the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
As well as the crops DUS tested at SASA, we also hold small collections of other vegetable species including tomato, parsley, spinach and cauliflower. However it is in our main test species that our collections are notable for their range, the top five (as of early 2017) are:
Pea: 4261 accessions
Cabbage: 2664 accessions
Carrot: 1527 accessions
Potatoes: 1187 varieties (maintained as tubers)
Onion: 1047 accessions
Radish: 759 accessions