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
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, http://eurisco.ecpgr.org, date of data consultation
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.
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.
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, 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:
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.