Agriculture and rural development

AGRI GEN RES 063: European genetic resources of Cynara spp

AGRI GEN RES 063: European genetic resources of Cynara spp

Genetic resources
AGRI GEN RES 063: European genetic resources of Cynara spp

Final results

The artichokes action collected, conserved, and characterised most of the European germplasm of globe artichoke, as well as wild and cultivated cardoon present in germplasm collections. In total, 229 globe artichokes, 85 wild cardoons and 82 cultivated cardoons accessions have been conserved. The action’s data were collected in a shared database which contains more than 200 accessions with, in some cases, related maps and photos. More information regarding the results can be found in the executive summary


The objectives of the action are:

  • Germplasm conservation; 
  • Collection rationalisation; 
  • Characterisation at morphological, biochemical and molecular levels; 
  • Valorisation of the European Cynara genetic resources; 
  • Promote variety registration to protect their utilisations; 
  • Set methodologies (i.e. evaluation criteria, in-vitro conservation and propagation, biochemical analysis, protocols, etc.); 
  • All the project’s data will be collected in a shared database system.

Actions and means involved

The CYNARES action is articulated in 5 working packages (WPs) each lead by a different partner:

  • WP1 is dedicated to the germplasm collection and collection rationalisation. It is lead by partner 5, Instituto Técnico y de Gestión Agrícola, S.A. (ITGA) - Spain. There are already available in existing collections about 196 lines of artichoke, 34 of cardoon and 55 of wild cardoon. Moreover, other material will be collected. The collections will be spread and duplicated among partners in order to have a complete series in each of the involved European countries. Their multiplication will be carried out utilising in-vitro techniques in order to have healthy material. Utilising the information coming from WP3 the collection will be rationalised. 
  • WP2 targets on plant and DNA conservation and vegetative multiplication. It is lead by partner 2, National Council of Research (CNR) - Italy. The germplasm will be conserved in field gene bank and in seed stores (where applicable); a DNA bank will be established to facilitate collection screening. The most promising lines will be also conserved in-vitro. Moreover, farmer will be involved in the on-farm conservation.  
  • WP3 focuses on the germplasm characterisation. It is lead by the coordinator, University of Tuscia (UNITUS) - Italy. The partners will share protocols and unique methodologies will be set. The germplasm will be evaluated at the morphological, molecular and biochemical point of view. Several molecular markers useful for germplasm characterisation and fingerprinting are already available. The biochemical of important nutraceutical compounds will be quantified in the different lines. The labs equipped for the proposed analysis are already set. 
  • WP4 is dedicated to interactive web-based documentation catalogue. It is lead by partner 1, ENEA - Italy. A web site with all data of the germplasm and protocols will be established. 
  • Finally, WP5 aims at the implementation of the CYNARES network and actions. It is lead by partner 3, Bretagne Biotechnologie Végétale (BBV) – France. The scope of this WP is to disseminate information achieved during the present project and added-value to the Artichoke and Cardoon accessions/variety in order to promote their utilisation and on-farm conservation. The first step is to establish a concerted and sustainable network. The main goal of the European CYNARES network will be to promote any exchanges and cooperative actions at the European level. Results will be published on proper scientific papers, but also booklets to stress the specific characteristics of each line will be published and spread to the farmers through the extensions services. The promising lines with their molecular fingerprint will be registered and/or patent in order to protect the European germplasm.

Relevance to the objectives

The CYNARES action is aimed at conserving, characterising, collecting and utilising the potential Cynara diversity, in agreement with the Convention of Biodiversity, the FAO's Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources (ITPGR) for Food and Agriculture.

Methodologies will be standardised to make possible the creation of a unique database that will give information not yet available for all the European germplasm. Biochemical evaluation will promote the artichoke utilisation stressing its nutraceutical properties. The Cynara DNA bank will be the first in the world and with the advances in genomics will be of potential use in gene discovery. Molecular characterisation will certificated the lines fingerprinting and will give information on germplasm relationships and assess Cynara variation in Europe giving the instrument to create a European Cynara core collection.

This action will be relevant for European Community for other several reasons:

  • The germplasm will be rationalised and identified univocally. Misclassifications will be avoided and resources will be saved in conserving it. 
  • The material utilised by European farmers will be classified, hence, farmers will have a patent product and a product known where its characteristics and nutraceutical values are declared. 
  • European germplasm will be valorised, classified and patented hence protected by the third countries. 
  • The information will be made available to the Community, and internationally through the creation of a permanent web site, in accordance with the international Treaties and Agreements. 
  • A durable network will be established and this will increase synergy in the outputs. 
  • Each accession will be better utilised (i.e. fresh consume, conservation, biomass or nutraceutical resources) so doing the multiple Cynara utilisation will be promoted.



Organisations implementing the co-funded action


Coordinator's website