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National Variety Review Boards
AOSCA National Variety
Review Boards (NVRB) provide a valuable service to plant breeders and the
National Variety Review
Boards started well over 50 years ago when AOSCA was known as the
International Crop Improvement Association.
The Association developed the first eligibility requirements for
varieties entering certification programs, focusing on genetic purity,
novelty, and sufficient data to support claims made by plant breeders for
these new varieties. The aim
of review boards was to provide uniformity among certifying agencies as
new varieties were developed and grown for certified seed.
The first review board was
for alfalfa, developing its standards with input from USDA, State
Experiment Stations, seed certifying agencies, and the seed industry
itself. Over the years, other
legumes and clover have been added to this NVRB.
AOSCA today administers four other NVRB’s, as well, for grasses,
small grains, soybeans, and sunflowers.
The purpose of the Variety
Review Board system is to determine if new crop varieties meet the
eligibility requirements of the AOSCA genetic seed certification
standards. The Boards
accomplish this by providing a central, standardized, and nonbiased
procedure followed by all plant breeders submitting review applications to
AOSCA. NVRB membership is
comprised of representatives from seed certification agencies, USDA, and
the seed industry, thus offering a peer review process for new varieties.
Plant breeders wanting to enter their new varieties into certification programs access the applications through the AOSCA web site. The process is updated annually to provide an efficient system for gathering information for review by the NVRB members. The applications and supporting information are submitted to the AOSCA office for electronic distribution to each review board member. The Boards meet annually to consider the applications that have been submitted for review.
Upon receiving a positive
review, new plant varieties are recommended for inclusion into seed
certification programs administered by AOSCA Agencies.
The plant breeders or owners of these varieties receive a
certificate from AOSCA and a final NVRB report is published and made
available at the end of the season.
A similar process is
offered by individual seed certifying agencies in cases where a national
review board is not available for a specific crop type.
AOSCA and seed certifying agencies provide a credible process where
new varieties may be recognized for their unique value and
characteristics. From there, the varieties enter into seed certification
for widespread adoption throughout the industry.
It is good example of many volunteers working together to encourage
the continued development of new varieties that will benefit seed
producers and their customers.
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