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Examining potatoes’ past could improve spuds of the future

The old adage of looking to the past to understand the future certainly applies to improving potatoes. Examining the ancestors of the modern, North American cultivated potato has revealed a set of common genes and important genetic pathways that have helped spuds adapt over thousands of years. The study appears in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Robin Buell, Michigan State University Foundation Professor of Plant Biology…

New potato variety with heat tolerance released in India

Farmers in India can expect higher yields and profits with the release of a new potato variety, Kufri Lima. Developed in collaboration with the International Potato Center (CIP for its acronym in Spanish) and the Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI), Kufri Lima, proved to be both early heat tolerant and virus resistant, preferred traits by local farmers. It is the first CIP clone recommended for release in India. Earlier CIP germplasm was…

Uganda: GMO potatoes expected to reach store shelves in 2020

Scientists have said the first batch of locally grown genetically modified potatoes will be on sale in Ugandan markets in 2020. Dr. Alex Barekye, the director of Kachwekano Zonal Agriculture Research Institute in the western district of Rubanda, said agricultural biotechnology research on potatoes is underway to create a genetically modified variety that will be resistant to diseases. Barekye said three trials have been conducted on the Victoria potato variety and so…

Genome Editing in Potato using TALENs

TALENs (transcription activator-like effector nucleases), one of the genome editing tools, have a likely lesser chance of having off-target mutations than other genome editing techniques. However, a rapid test system for the functionality of the designed TALENs and an effective delivery system for introducing TALENs to plants are critical for successful target mutation. While TALENs are usually introduced into plants using viral vectors, these are not always available, and plants edited by these…

Idaho Potato Breeders aim to develop PCN Resistant Russets

Researchers in the pacific North-west breeding program harvested a special block of first-year clones on Sept. 29, screened for their ability to help the industry cope with a quarantined pest. The block contained a half dozen plants from each of 223 breeding clones resulting from crosses of Western Russet and Eden, a round Scottish variety with known resistance to potato cyst nematode. Material in the block has been screened for the presence…

Potato Mutants: Useless Freaks or Precious Gems?

Mutations are naturally occurring phenomena in all living organisms. Most mutations are harmful in the organisms in which they occur. In seed-propagated crops, such harmful mutations – “freaks” – are often lost in the cycle of sexual reproduction and selection. Since the potato is commercially propagated by vegetative means, most mutations (also known as “sports”) that occur in the potato will be maintained. This can either be a bane or a blessing…

New potato varieties available for farmers in Phillipines

Two leading research institutions have partnered to help increase potato production in the Philippines, in order to meet the increasing demand for the commodity that is also fuelled by the proliferation of more fast food establishments in the country. Through its National Technology Commercialization Program, the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) is supporting the Northern Philippines Root Crops Research and Training Center (NPRCRTC) based at the Benguet State University in…

Hybrid breeding technology protects potato from fungus

In a hidden experimental field in Wageningen, the Netherlands, surrounded by tall maize plants, there are several smaller plots with potato plants. In some of these plots there are only dead plants, in others the plants have been affected by late blight (Phytophthora infestans) to a greater or lesser extent, but there are also fields with only perfectly healthy potatoes. The latter are the result of the latest crosses by the Wageningen…

Fast-Tracking Extreme Resistance

A key tool in the arsenal for controlling potato virus Y (PVY) is cultivar resistance. Now, researchers are developing better molecular markers for faster, more accurate screening of potato breeding lines for “extreme resistance” to PVY – equivalent to PVY immunity. That will enable breeders to more efficiently develop new varieties with total protection against this serious disease. “PVY is one of the most widespread viruses and also one of the most…

Dutch company develops new blight-resistant potato

The Dutch company Solynta has developed a potato variety that is resistant to late blight (Phytophthora infestans). As a result, it could greatly reduce the use of pesticides in agriculture. The company plans to unveil its new blight-resistant potato later this week. The potato disease causes widespread damage to potato stocks worldwide every year, despite the intensive use of pesticides. Richard Visser, chair and head plant breeding at Wageningen University & Research,…

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