Solanum medians

CGN potato collection

The potato collection is being maintained at CGN since 1995 (see history). It consists of wild and Andean cultivated potato species.

Background and availability of the collection are described. Passport and evaluation data are downloadable. Passport data of those accessions that received a CGN accession number can be searched online. The species list is sorted per taxonomic series and includes pictures and general info on Endosperm Balance Number, chromosome number, region of origin, altitude range. Furthermore addresses and web sites of major potato genebanks, inventories, literature references as well as links to some other potato sites are provided. Results and partners (incl. several European potato variety collections) of the EU project RESGEN - CT95 - 34/45 (1996-2000) are listed here.

Solanum demissum


The accessible collection contains about 1240 accessions of 112 wild species (following Hawkes) and 220 accessions of four traditional Andean cultivated species. The germplasm originates from twelve countries in South and North America. Only accessions that passed the obligatory phytosanitairy tests before seed multiplication are included in this overview.



In 1974, an agreement was signed between the Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Forestry (now: Ministry of Food and Agriculture) of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands, concerning cooperative activities in the field of potato genetic resources. As a consequence the "German-Netherlands Potato Department" was established in the "Institut für Pflanzenbau und Pflanzenzüchtung der Bundesforschungsanstalt für Landwirtschaft Braunschweig-Völkenrode" (FAL), with the objective to maintain genetic resources of the potato.

The existing collections from both countries 1) the Erwin Bauer Sortiment (EBS), maintained at the Max-Planck Institute in Köln, and 2) the Wageningse Aardappel Collectie (WAC), maintained at the Department of Plant Breeding of the Agricultural University of Wageningen, were merged at the FAL in Braunschweig (Lange, 1976). In 1984, it became a project of the German-Netherlands Board for Plant Genetic Resources. January 1995, the Dutch-German Potato Collection was transferred to the Centre for Genetic Resources, the Netherlands (CGN). That part of the collection that can be freely distributed (screened for quarantine diseases; enough seeds available; good germinability) is included in the 'regular' CGN collections.


The former Dutch (WAC) and German (EBS) collections comprise 40% of the current accessions. They include 94 accessions of cultivated potato species collected in 1955 by Toxopeus during the Dutch Expedition to Peru, as well as 77 accessions of 28 wild species collected in 1959 by Ross and Rimpau during the German Andes Expedition to Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. Data cards from WAC 1-953 are available as PDF (see Potato links).  The collection was substantially expanded with material from the Argentine genebank INTA-Balcarce. The INTA material accounts for 24% of the collection.

Including the expeditions from Ross & Rimpau and Toxopeus, 26% of the collection originates directly from collecting expeditions with Dutch or German participation. More information about collecting expeditions including mission reports, collecting forms and background information is available. Seed exchange with other genebanks has taken place too. Furthermore, material was received from universities active in the field of potato taxonomy.

Safety duplication

Svalbard Global Seed Vault at Spitsbergen

A safety duplicate, containing a multiplication sample (à 200 seeds) and at least 250 seeds from the bulk, is being kept in a storage facility of IPK-Gatersleben, on the peninsula Poel, Germany. Earlier (1981), potato samples were exchanged with the Commonwealth Potato Collection (CPC). 770 samples have been received and about 570 samples were sent to Scotland then. Since February 2008 most of the accessions were triplicated at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which was donated by Norway to the international community and is being supported by the Global Crop Diversity Trust.

International treaties


The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was signed by over 150 governments at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The CBD became effective as international law on 29 December 1993. More information on the CBD and its international implementation is available at The current Dutch policy concerning access and benefit sharing related to genetic resources can be viewed at the web-site CBD Focal Point, under the button 'policies'. Furthermore, several of your questions may have been answered under the button 'Frequently asked questions'. The EU also provides info on Access and Benefits Sharing to support the CBD. The Access and Benefit-Sharing Clearing-House ABSCH provides detailed info per country.

The International Treaty on PGRFA (Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture) was approved 3 November 2001 by the Conference of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which entered into force on 29 June 2004 (FAO plant treaty website). It revises the International Undertaking (1983) to promote international harmony for access to PGR for food and agriculture. It provides a framework to ensure access to PGR and to related knowledge, technologies, and internationally agreed funding. Collection holders (genebanks) have to determine which part of their accessions will be put into the multilateral system. They are free to make also other crops available under the terms and conditions of the international Standard Material Transfer Agreement (like CGN did). To receive material that has been put into the multilateral system or was made available under these terms and conditions, the recipient has to sign the Standard Material Transfer Agreement which can also be downloaded from the IT website.

The Nagoya Protocol on ABS (Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization) was adopted on 29 October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan and entered into force on 12 October 2014. It supplements the CBD and will create greater legal certainty and transparency for providers and users of PGR. More information: About the protocol (at, the EU regulation for implementation within the EU, about the EU regulation at the Dutch ABS focal point website as well as Plantum, the Dutch plant breeders organization (in Dutch). Presentations on the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol in the EU and the monitoring of compliance in the Netherlands (M. Brink, 20190704). As well as the German Nagoya Protocol Hub (in English).

The ABS Focal Point of the Netherlands provides guidance for seeking access to resources from the Netherlands and broad, gives background information on international rules and Dutch policy, and explains terms that are often used.

The Global Crop Diversity Trust is prioritizing the Annex 1 crops of the International Treaty and developed Regional as well as Crop Strategies for the conservation of the germplasm.

case Peru

Peru has the highest diversity for potato genetic resources, but it is still under represented in collections because Peru has been too dangerous for intensive collecting for a period of about 15 years, due to terrorist activities.

Next to Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, Peru is member of the Andean Pact. The Andean Pact adopted Decision 391 on a "Common Regime on Access to Genetic Resources", a procedurally complex law, which entered into force mid-1996. The material collected in Peru 1999 was transformed into true seed at CIP-Huancayo. This germplasm was blocked for distribution after Peruvian authorities declared the collecting mission for illegal, because the wrong ministry signed the collecting permission. USDA and CIP are encouraged to re-negociate an export permission for the 1999 collected germplasm. CGN was no partner in the 5 year collecting agreement 1998-2002.

Spring 2010 a new law on genetic resources has passed the Peruvian parliament, implementing the CBD and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

The administrative barriers for the exchange of germplasm, as experienced in the Bioversity study on the diversity of Capsicum landraces in Peru and Bolivia (pers. comm. M. van Zonneveld), gives little hope for a medium term solution for the "illegal" collected wild potato accessions (in 1999). CIP has negotiated with INIA to make this germplasm accessible.

Summary of the ABS regulations in Peru (2017).

Implementation of the ITPGRFA for potato at CGN

Annex 1 of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (see FAO-Treaty site) lists the crops covered by the multilateral system. It includes Solanum section tuberosa and excludes S. phureja. Using the system of Hawkes (1990), CGN considers Solanum section tuberosa to be the species in the family Solanaceae, genus Solanum, subgenus Potatoe, section Petota, which includes the subsections Estolonifera and Potatoe. According to Hawkes, section Petota is maybe better known as Tuberarium, a name taken from Dunal (1852) by the German taxonomist George Bitter (1912). Subsection Estolonifera consists of the series: Etuberosa and Juglandifolia. The latter contains the species S. juglandifolium, sitiens and ochranthum. Based on molecular data, the species from this series are now considered to be much more related to tomato then to potato (Contreras-M. & Spooner, 1999). Therefore CGN has put the accessions from these species under the tomato crop (following USDA genebanks). Also species from section Basarthrum, like S. canense and fraxinifolium, as well as the S. nigrum like species S. chaparense are considered to be non-section Petota species. These species are submitted to CBD regulations when gathered after 1993. Because CGN decided to make this germplasm available under the terms and conditions of the SMTA, also for the non-Petota accessions an SMTA has to be signed.

Disclaimer: All EBN numbers and most of the chromosome numbers are based on general literature reports or countings from other genebanks. The information provided by CGN may contain errors. The users are therefore requested to report back any mistakes in the data of CGN.