Making Germplasm Deposits for a Plant Variety Certificate of Protection

Germplasm Types

The germplasm sample serves as a voucher specimen for PVPO's use should a question ever arise about the validity of the description.

Seed Samples: Samples are sent to the National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation (NLGRP) in Fort Collins, Colorado. The memorandum of understanding between PVPO and NLGRP states that these seed samples will be kept separate from the NLGRP general collection during the term of protection.

Vegetative Samples: Samples are to be maintained by the applicant or at a repository of their choosing during the current three-year delay (with all fees to be paid by the applicant). Potato Samples: Potato and other tuber samples must be submitted to NLGRP.

Approved Repositories

Seed and Potato Samples:

Samples are sent to the National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation in Ft. Collins, Colorado. View instructions for depositing PVP voucher samples with NLGRP.

Vegetative Samples:

Popular repositories include:

  • Bigelow Laboratory in East Booth Bay, Maine
  • American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) in Manassas, Virginia

Please contact individual repositories for more information on procedures and sample preparation.


A three-year delay waiver (covering applications submitted from January 6, 2020 to January 6, 2023) has been granted to address the technical infeasibility of depositing propagating materials for some asexually reproduced plants. During this period germplasm can be maintained by the applicant or by a repository of their choosing. The applicant is required to make a declaration that a voucher specimen will be provided within three months of a request by the Plant Variety Protection Office. Failure to provide a specimen as requested shall result in the certificate being regarded as abandoned.

Potato Tubers

For potatoes, live plantlets of the variety and payment of tissue culture fees are required after notice of certificate issuance.

A deposit of ten (10) separate in-vitro plants (1 plant per tube), no more than two weeks  old, firmly rooted in one percent agar are required for deposit at NLGRP, which prepares tissue cultures for preservation. It is recommended that plantlets be sent by an overnight delivery service to minimize the risk of damage.

Payment information is listed under Fees.


An applicant needs to provide an original deposit of materials for seed-reproduced plants which shall be made within three months of the filing date of the application or prior to issuance of the certificate, whichever occurs first. Deposit consists of 3,000 viable untreated seeds of the variety; additionally, for first-generation hybrids, 3,000 seeds of each parent needed to reproduce the variety in addition to the variety seed sample.

Seed samples from within the U.S. should be sent directly to NLGRP at the following address via commercial carriers (i.e. FedEx, UPS, etc.) rather than the U.S. Postal Service.

Attn: PVP Coordinator
1111 South Mason St.
Fort Collins, CO 80521-4500
Telephone: 970-492-3200

Sending Material from outside the United States

Seed and potato plantlets: Please email NLGRP at to request an NLGRP Import Instruction letter and import documents (if required).

Do not send material until you have complete instructions from NLGRP. Seed and potato plantlets  shipped without proper documentation from non-US sources may be destroyed.

Contact Information

USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service
Science and Technology Program
Plant Variety Protection Office
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Room 2915 South, Stop 0274
Washington DC 20250
Phone: (202) 260-8983