The Solanaceae Genetic Resources Network

The Solanaceae Genetic Resources Network of seed vegetables has been managed by the CRB-Leg since 1996. It has allowed sharing of materials and the burden of maintenance and phenotyping between partners.

A number of vegetable genetic resources have been created since 1996 thanks to the initiative of the Office of Genetic Resources (BRG) that was the French National Coordinator of Genetic Resources in France from 1983 to 2008. The aim of the networks was to involve actors, who held and/or used GR nationally, in order to share materials in collections with each other and also the advantages and associated costs of storing, maintaining and securing them on a long-term basis. With state funding being absent, the networks need to be self-financed by each partner. The GAFL research unit coordinates, since their creation in 1996, the Solanaceae seed vegetables GR network (tomato, eggplant and pepper) as well as the Melon network, and since 2020 the Lactuca network.

Partners: Partners of the network participate as multipliers or phenotypers and are public institutions (INRAE, GEVES Cavaillon and CIRAD Réunion) as well as vegetable seed breeding companies with research and experimentation stations in France. These companies in 2019 were the following: VCo (including Vilmorin and HM-Clause), Gautier Semences, Novagenetic, Rijk Zwaan, Nunhems BV (BASF’s vegetable seeds business), Enza Zaden, Takii France, Sakata France, Syngenta.

The partners are involved as per their requirements, which evolve over time, in the activities of one or two or three species. Two associated partners are responsible for network communication to the general public: - Le potager du Roi (Versailles) and The National Horticultural Society of France (SNHF), "vegetable" section.

Collections: The tomato, pepper and eggplant collections are made up of French and foreign varieties as well as wild or related cultivated species, brought by each partner or introduced in the context of network activity. The share of GR brought by INRAE to the network varies from 24% in tomato, to 59% in pepper and 73% in eggplant. The national collections of tomato, pepper and eggplant were defined by each subgroup. They are a subset of the network collections, and consist mainly of traditional French varieties (called "old") and notable breeding stock carrying disease resistance. In 2021, the number of accessions of each collection was the following:


Network collection

National collection










INRAE has transfered the national collections of Eggplant to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The national collections are available online: Siregal database

Operations: The network operates under the following rules. A technical field visit is organised annually for each species, as well as three meetings (one per subgroup and a plenary meeting for the entire network).

Phenotyping (morphological description) of the material is carried out by INRAE for tomato and GEVES for eggplant and pepper.

The regeneration of seed (multiplication) is carried out on the basis of 3 to 10 varieties per year per partner, according to pollen isolation rules and plant protection precautions ensuring the health and genetic integrity of the seed. Seeds are stored at 5°C in a dry atmosphere (50% relative humidity). Long term storage (more than 20 years without regeneration) is being implemented gradually since the acquisition of a -20°C cold room. Backup duplicates are stored at multiplier partners for tomato and at GEVES for pepper and eggplant.

The network carries out a few evaluations of the GR for traits of interest such as disease resistance or fruit quality criteria. These activities are subject to specific contracts with seed companies and the GAFL research teams.

Evolution of the network: The immediate environment of the network has undergone profound changes since 1996. Indeed, the legal status of GR has changed dramatically since the Convention on Biodiversity in Rio (1992) and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Agriculture and Food (2004) and the Nagoya Protocol (2010). Moreover, several seed company partners, due to mergers and successive acquisitions, have become international companies who operate their seed production activities worldwide. Also, the network operating rules that were defined during its creation in 1996 necessitate a rethinking and a redefinition of the objectives of partners in accordance with national and international legislation.

Modification date: 21 June 2023 | Publication date: 22 September 2016 | By: RS