Agriculture and rural development

AGRI GEN RES 036: European small berries genetic resources

AGRI GEN RES 036: European small berries genetic resources

Genetic resources
AGRI GEN RES 036: European small berries genetic resources

Final Results

The Strawberries and Raspberries action improved the conservation of the small berries genetic resources and developed their characterisation, focused on the diversity available in collections, identified genotypes for some traits, such as health compounds and diseases resistances, initiated cryopreservation method and established a core collection and a database for strawberry. All these activities contributed to the conservation and sustainable use of small berries. More information regarding the results can be found in the executive summary.



The objectives of the action are:

  • To ensure that agricultural biodiversity of small berries is preserved, characterised and used to improve varieties adapted to local European regions
  • To improve the conservation of the small berries genetic resources toward the construction of core collections of strawberry and red raspberry
  • To help for:
    • The passport data list
    • The selection and definition of appropriate primary and secondary descriptors
    • The characterisation using molecular markers, health nutritional compounds and diseases evaluation
    • The establishment of the European small berries database.

Actions and means involved

The action will benefit from the participation of 8 public and private partners. They are responsible for national collections or have an easier access to the resources from 6 countries over Europe, including Europe Eastern countries, and one associated country (Romania). In addition, all the partners have also strong link with the small berries breeder community in their country.

The coordinator of this project is also the leader of the working group 1 (WG 1 concerned by genetic resources and breeding) of the COST 863 “Euroberry” (, in which 31 European and associated countries are involved. By synergy between this project and the WG1, we have the opportunity to create a strong dynamic in the management of genetic resources in all small berries. The work will consist of the rationalisation of the conservation of the “small berries” genetic resources. It will be divided into 7 work packages (WPs), each coordinated by one partner. These WPs will be developed on two models of small berries, strawberry and raspberry, the two most cultivated berries in Europe. Results obtained on these berries will benefit to other small berries through the WG1 of the COST 863, and through open meetings.

  • WP1 is dedicated to the acquisition of the European collection composition toward a rationalisation and conservation of ex situ collections. 
  • WP2 focuses on the passport data list and selection and definition of primary and secondary descriptors. 
  • WP3 targets the characterisation of the genetic diversity using molecular markers. 
  • WP4 aims at the characterisation for health nutritional compounds (total antioxidants and vitamin C) and for disease resistances. 
  • WP5 is dedicated to the dissemination of the results to all publics, via meetings and a WEB site. 
  • WP6 focuses on the elaboration of a European small berries database, and continued network co-operation via the enrichment of the database. 
  • Finally, WP7 is dedicated to the management of the project with establishment of partners’ network and formulation of the objectives.

Relevance to the objectives

Today, it is necessary that the production is in respect with the environment and the global change of this environment and uses natural control factors. This objective will be supported by obtaining new varieties with a broader genetic base. In addition to these environmental factors, it is also important to take account of the fruit and health nutritional quality for the consumers. High quality varieties have the potential to increase fresh fruit consumption with the related health benefits as well as benefits to the economy.

In this context, genetic resources are fundamentally useful to plant breeders in their efforts to improve crops in order to enlarge the genetic bases and to develop locally adapted varieties.
By making collections more accessible and meaningful to users, genetic resources can be more easily used by a plant breeder for introgressing new characters, such as resistances, low fertility of the soil, health nutritional values etc...The development of small berries production with low-input and sustainable production methods in addition to fruit and health nutritional qualities is an important preoccupation of European consumers.

Strawberry and raspberry represent the two main cultivated small berries. Their production, for fresh fruits and for processing, generates labours in European rural areas.


Interim results  (12/2009)


Organisations implementing the co-funded action


Coordinator's website