Protocols and procedures for testing the distinctiveness, uniformity and stability (DUS) of certain agricultural and vegetable plants.
If you have a new plant variety, it must be tested to make sure it is distinct, sufficiently uniform and stable (DUS) as part of the application process to:
- add a plant variety to the UK national lists
- get intellectual property rights (known as plant breeders’ rights (PBR))
DUS testing checks your new plant variety is distinct, uniform and stable.
A distinct plant variety has at least one important characteristic that is different from other varieties included in the national list.
A uniform plant variety has individual plants that share the same important characteristics.
A stable plant variety remains unchanged after ‘repeated propagation’, for example, reproduction from seeds, cuttings, bulbs or other plant parts.
Get your variety tested
APHA will ask you to send your seed or plant material for testing as part of your application to add your variety to the national lists or for PBR. They’ll tell you how much to send and when.
Do not send plant material until APHA requests it.
- 1 to 3 years for ornamentals depending on species
- 3 years for trees
- 4 years for herbage varieties
- 2 years for other species
Your variety might need more tests on parental species if you’re registering hybrid varieties.
APHA will send you a copy of the test results.
Read the DUS protocols for:
DUS reports in the EU and UK
The EU stopped accepting UK DUS reports from 1 January 2021.
The UK is reliant on EU testing for a large number of species where the UK does not have DUS testing capability. The UK will accept EU reports for these species, if the testing done for the report is of comparable quality to UK testing.
The UK will accept EU DUS test reports for the following species the UK does have testing capability for:
EU testing must have started before 31 January 2020 for the UK to accept an EU DUS test report.
For all other species where the UK has testing capability, you need to get a UK DUS test as part of your national list or plant breeders’ rights applications.
DUS testing capability in the UK
DUS tests take place at approved centres over a 2-year period. You’ll get first year results and a final decision is generally made after the second year. Grasses can take up to 4 years to be tested.
There are 3 test centres for DUS testing of agricultural and vegetable varieties in the UK:
- the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI)
- the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB)
The UK does not have DUS testing capability for all the vegetable varieties listed. For the varieties that the UK does not have DUS testing capability for, the UK will do one of the following:
- purchase the DUS report
- entrust another examination office to carry out the DUS testing on behalf of the UK
Applications for vegetable varieties that the UK does not have DUS testing capability for can be received all year round. However the closing date for receipt of plant material is at the discretion of the examination office.
UK DUS report requests
If you apply for PBR or a national listing in another country, the country you apply to will need a copy of your UK DUS test report.
The national dedicated authority (NDA) of that country will request a copy of your test report from APHA. APHA will email a copy of your report to the NDA.