Analysis of gaps in rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) collections in European genebanks

Stephan Weise*, Roel Hoekstra, Kim Jana Kutschan, Markus Oppermann, Rob van Treuren, Ulrike Lohwasser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Rapeseed is one of the most important agricultural crops and is used in many ways. Due to the advancing climate crisis, the yield potential of rapeseed is increasingly impaired. In addition to changing environmental conditions, the expansion of cultivated areas also favours the infestation of rapeseed with various pests and pathogens. This results in the need for continuous further development of rapeseed varieties. To this end, the potential of the rapeseed gene pool should be exploited, as the various species included in it contain promising resistance alleles against pests and pathogens. In general, the biodiversity of crops and their wild relatives is increasingly endangered. In order to conserve them and to provide impulses for breeding activities as well, strategies for the conservation of plant genetic resources are necessary. In this study, we investigated to what extent the different species of the rapeseed gene pool are conserved in European genebanks and what gaps exist. In addition, a niche modelling approach was used to investigate how the natural distribution ranges of these species are expected to change by the end of the century, assuming different climate change scenarios. It was found that most species of the rapeseed gene pool are significantly underrepresented in European genebanks, especially regarding representation of the natural distribution areas. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that the natural distributions are expected to change, in some cases significantly, as a result of ongoing climate change. It is therefore necessary to further develop strategies to prevent the loss of wild relatives of rapeseed. Based on the results of the study, as a first step we have proposed a priority list of species that should be targeted for collecting in order to conserve the biodiversity of the rapeseed gene pool in the long term.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1244467
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Brassica
  • gap analysis
  • niche modelling
  • plant genetic resources
  • rapeseed


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