(Photo: an official from INASE auditing a soybean seed production plot)

Buenos Aires, April 8th. The National Seed Institute (INASE) is too close to putting into action the registration of soybean varieties and its commerce control via DNA markers. Last December, INASE published its Order 228/2018 that established 56 SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) to use in the identification of all the soybean varieties registered at the institute.

Last week, eFarmNewsAr.com met Raimundo Lavignolle, chairman of the INASE, to know how this disruptive method -Argentina will be the first country in the world using molecular markers to identify both public and private soybean varieties- is being implemented.

The official explained that the Institute complete the identification of all the varieties registered, including those registered during 2017 and 2018. This involves around a thousand varieties.

Furthermore, the INASE published the order that establishes the requirements that laboratories must fulfill to run the DNA tests. Mr. Lavignolle estimates that around ten labs will be enabled, most of them from Grain Exchange Markets, like Buenos Aires or Rosario.

In the next weeks, other orders will establish the protocols to use the DNA identification method, and finally, INASE will publish in its website the DNA’s profiles of each of the all varieties registered.

Soybean DNA identification is the most advanced program, but INASE is also working with wheat and cotton varieties to identifying via molecular markers.

As we said in our latest article A giant step: Argentina uses molecular markers to identified soybean varieties until now farmers must declare what varieties they are using for the crop production and how they obtained the seed, i.e., if they bought to the dealers or if it is saved seed.

It is estimated that 20% of the soybean seed planted every year was bought to dealers as certified seed, while 60% is saved seed. Illegal commerce would round 7% and the remaining 13% would be illegal saved seed.

It is suspected that farmers trend to declare old varieties to avoid any conflict-related with IPR claims. Despite breeding companies established a royalty system to recover IPR from saved seed, as current legislation doesn’t provide this concept, the system operates as a voluntary one.

But now, the variety identification system via DNA will provide to INASE a powerful tool to determine if what the farmer declares is what the farmer plant. Mr. Lavignolle expects that these controls will start to operate in the next 2019/20 campaign.

This could help to improve legal commerce, while Congress discuss a reform of the current Plant Breeders Act, that modify the free saved seed concept for an onerous one.

“Meanwhile, both farmers and breeders will be able to use the DNA markers to verify the seed identity if they consider it necessary; and laboratories will be able to provide services to third parties, giving more guarantees to the users”, Lavignolle adds.

Below. Chairman of INASE, Raimundo Lavignolle (right), talking with Javier Preciado Patiño, co-founder of eFarmNewsAr.com