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What it is

EURISCO is a web-based catalogue that provides information about ex situ plant collections maintained in Europe.

EURISCO is based on a European network of ex situ National Inventories (NIs) that makes the European plant genetic resources data available everywhere in the world. The EURISCO Web Catalogue automatically receives data from the NIs through country National Focal Points (NFPs).

The EURISCO Catalogue contains passport data about more than 2 million samples of crop diversity representing more than 6,700 genera and more than 45,000 species (genus-species combinations including synonyms and spelling variants) from 43 countries (updated March 2022).

EURISCO is a one-stop shop window using international standards for information on ex situ plant collections that enables users to search and access information on food crops, forages, wild-and-weedy species, including cultivars, landraces, farmers' varieties, breeding lines, genetic stocks and research material.

Following the mandate and guidance given by the ECPGR Steering Committee, EURISCO is hosted at and maintained by IPK Gatersleben on behalf of the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, which acts as the legal entity of the Secretariat of the European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources (ECPGR), in collaboration with and on behalf of the National Focal Points for the National Inventories.

EURISCO is working with NFPs to improve the search mechanisms, data and metadata standards, web services and other necessary components of an Internet-based information infrastructure for ex situ plant genetic resources. EURISCO makes data from the NIs available to users around the world. These data are made available according to the existing data policy - legal notice and terms of use.


Citing data:

Users of EURISCO data shall always give credit to the Catalogue. Use the following format to cite data retrieved from the EURISCO Catalogue: "EURISCO Catalogue,, date of data consultation (YYYY-MM-DD)"


P. Kotni, T. van Hintum, L. Maggioni, M. Oppermann and S. Weise (2022). EURISCO update 2023: the European Search Catalogue for Plant Genetic Resources, a pillar for documentation of genebank material. Nucleic Acids Research, 51(D1):D1465-D1469, 2023.

S. Kreide, M. Oppermann and S. Weise (2019). Advancement of taxonomic searches in the European search catalogue for plant genetic resources. Plant Genetic Resources, 17(6):559-561.

S. Weise, M. Oppermann, L. Maggioni, T. van Hintum and H. Knüpffer (2017). EURISCO: The European Search Catalogue for Plant Genetic Resources. Nucleic Acids Research, 45(D1):D1003-1008.

How it works and who participates

EURISCO has several key elements. The first is the adoption of common data standards. Genetic resources information specialists from participating countries have contributed to the development and refinement of a standard set of descriptors for germplasm: the FAO/IPGRI Multicrop Passport Descriptors (MCPD). Adopting and adhering to data standards is a prerequisite for sharing and searching for data across information systems.

The second key element is the development of National Inventories (NIs) of genetic resources in participating countries, which is a commitment mandated by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Each country has the full responsibility and sovereign rights to decide on the data availability, accuracy and upload of its NIs.

The third key element is the network of National Focal Points (NFPs), who provide the links between the NIs and the EURISCO Catalogue. They ensure that information in their NIs is uploaded onto EURISCO.

The final element is the technical infrastructure of EURISCO itself.

IPK Gatersleben's responsibilities

IPK Gatersleben, on behalf of the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, accepts the following responsibilities regarding the data provided by the NFPs:

  1. To compile into EURISCO the data uploaded from the NI;
  2. To provide public access to the EURISCO database via a web site, and maintain this website and its user interfaces in consultation with and on behalf of the NFP of the NI;
  3. To manage the tools and means to facilitate data to be uploaded from NI to EURISCO and provide access to these tools and means to the NI;
  4. To provide technical guidance on data inclusion and data quality;
  5. To manage the legal basis for access to EURISCO and use of data (disclaimers, copyright notifications, terms of use etc.) and prominently display on the EURISCO website the terms of use of the data;
  6. To not alter, modify, or otherwise change, the data in any way if the quality standards are met;
  7. To not claim ownership over any data provided by the NI;
  8. To not express any opinion on the data when making them publicly available;
  9. To acknowledge that the NIs are the source of the data on EURISCO;
  10. To encourage users to acknowledge EURISCO as the source of the data accessed through the EURISCO website.

The origins of EURISCO

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) calls on countries to facilitate the exchange of information on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.

The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and the Global Plan of Action (GPA) for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture highlight the need for information systems to manage and make accessible information about the genetic diversity of crops on which the world's food supply depends. Many initiatives, such as the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy, require access to such information if they are to succeed.

In 2000, the European Union approved funding, through a Fifth Framework Programme project, for the European Plant Genetic Resources Information Infra-Structure (EPGRIS), for the development of national inventories of plant genetic resources (PGR) and for the creation of a searchable catalogue of ex situ collections in Europe – EURISCO.

The EURISCO Catalogue was publicly launched in September 2003, at the end of the EPGRIS project.