INCREASE – Intelligent Collections of Food Legumes Genetic Resources for European Agrofood Systems

Impact on Genetic Resources


INCREASE aims to establish an open space for efficient and effective conservation and use of food legume genetic resources, particularly in Europe. This will be achieved thanks to the improvement of data management standards, the development of a central data management infrastructure and genetic resources exploration tools available for users, as well as testing of innovative approaches for data sharing and collection, such as the development of a data management app, the Citizen Science Experiment and the establishment of a Stakeholder Consortium.


The participation of a wide range of users and stakeholders in INCREASE will allow for establishing best practices in the dynamic management of food-legume genetic resources across European and international organisations and initiatives. These can then be applied to other kinds of genetic resources.


Through INCREASE new and already available genotypic and phenotypic information will be generated, analysed, integrated, and made available to end-users.

Sharing & Services

INCREASE will apply a centralised approach with decentralised inputs for data management and sharing resources. This is done through the development of web-based user tools available not only for experts (e.g. breeders, scientists), but also for farmers and consumers involved in conservation and evaluation activities. A fully decentralised system for data integration across different genebanks will also be tested using a citizen science experiment. All INCREASE approaches can be extended to other crops and other European conservation initiatives (e.g. genebanks).

Methods & Tools

Intelligent Collections will be developed, starting with germplasm available from genebanks and from on farm conservation activities and initiatives. Nested core collections of inbred lines will be generated and deeply genotyped and phenotyped. Phenotyping and gene discovery activities will meet the needs of various actors (e.g. breeders, scientists, farmers, agri-food and non-food industry, consumers) and will include not only ‘conventional’ traits, but also adaptation to abiotic and biotic factors (e.g. pathogens) and key features often ignored that are related to the value chain (e.g. food nutritional value, quality), to agro-ecosystem characteristics (e.g. intercropping), and to artificial intelligence and smart tools (e.g. seed image recognition).

Open science

Participatory and open-science approaches will be implemented in INCREASE. To this end an open-science experiment will be carried out with stakeholders and citizens that will contribute to conservation, evaluation and distribution of food legume genetic resources. Through the citizen science experiment, INCREASE will develop and test a fully decentralise block-chain based structure coupled with image analysis for sharing data and germplasm that will include SMTA generation and reporting functions and digital agreements along with the FAO ITPGRFA (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture). This solution, designed for the general public, will make it easier to share seeds under a legal framework and could also be adopted by expert users that often find the actual SMTA procedures uneasy and time consuming.