Variety ID

Variety ID

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Starting in 2010, the Field Seed Program began in North Dakota, requiring variety identification (VID) for certification of all seed lots of hard red spring wheat, barley, and field pea. In conjunction with the North Dakota State Seed Department (NDSSD), NAGC has assumed all VID testing for the state of North Dakota. With most new seed varieties protected by plant variety protection (PVP) laws, VID testing has become a valuable tool in PVP enforcement. The NDSSD uses VID testing during the regulatory inspection process to verify the stated variety on labels matches what is in the container/bin.

Wheat, barley, and field pea variety identification testing is conducted using specific DNA simple sequence repeats (SSRs) panels. Seed DNA is extracted from each sample and then subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using the specific SSR panels for wheat, barley, or field pea. The PCR products are then subjected to capillary electrophoresis (CE) and a sample profile is obtained. The sample profile is used to search NAGC’s wheat or barley database to assign a variety to the sample.

Oat variety testing is conducted using native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE). This method in which an electrical current is applied to the gel, causing the proteins to separate based on charge. The patterns of protein banding are based on genetic composition and is to be considered the ‘fingerprint’ for that specific variety, are visualized using a stain. Known variety controls are run in
conjunction with unknown samples and compared to each other for identification (Cooke, 1992).

Variety ID testing is required for all lots of spring wheat, barley and field peas submitted for final certification.

This project was funded in part by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture Bioscience Innovative Grant, North Dakota State Seed Department, North Dakota Wheat Commission, and American Malting Barley Association.


Cooke, R. J. 1992. Variety Testing: Electrophoresis Testing, Cambridge, UK, International Seed Testing Association.

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