Detailed guide: DUS protocols for testing plant varieties

Animal Plant Health Agency

February 25
07:16 2020

EU Directive

The EU Commission Directive 2018/100/EU was administratively implemented in the United Kingdom on 31 August 2018. This specifies the minimum characteristics to be measured and the minimum conditions for examining certain varieties of agricultural and vegetable species for distinctiveness, uniformity and stability (DUS).

See the notice announcing the implementation (PDF, 229KB, 5 pages).

DUS tests

As part of the application process to add a plant variety to the National List or for approval of plant breeders rights, the plant variety must be tested to ensure it is distinct, sufficiently uniform and stable (DUS).

DUS tests are carried out at approved centres over a 2-year period. They are done in line with protocols and procedures approved by the Plant Variety and Seeds Committee, which represents the national authorities on seeds issues.

The Community Plant Variety Rights Office develops the technical protocols which set the characteristics to be used in the DUS tests.

DUS criteria


A distinct plant variety has one or more important characteristics that are different from other varieties included in the National List, a list of another EU state, or the EU Common Catalogue.


A uniform plant variety has individual plants which have similar or genetically identical important characteristics, with very few aberrations.


A stable plant variety has important characteristics which remain true to their original description after successive propagations or multiplications.

DUS protocols

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