Diploid Potato Variety Resistant to Colorado Potato Beetles Developed

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Natalie Kaiser assessing the resistance of potato lines in a field naturally infested with Colorado potato beetles
Natalie Kaiser assessing the resistance of potato lines in a field naturally infested with Colorado potato beetles. The wild potato relative Solanum chacoense USDA8380-1 (80-1) remains untouched by beetles throughout the season due to natural resistance. Photo: Natalie Kaiser

A group of researchers have developed a diploid potato variety which is resistant to Colorado potato beetles, a recently published study in Crop Science says.

Natalie Kaiser, lead author of the study and a researcher at Michigan State University, developed the beetle-resistant potato variety. Her team used diploid breeding in order to shorten the time needed for field trial testing.

A news release on the study says they were able to compare the chemical profile of hundreds of individual potatoes with their resistance to the Colorado potato beetle in the field.

“We found chemical signatures that could predict resistance to Colorado potato beetles,” Kaiser says in the release. “Breeders can select resistant potatoes with a simple chemical measurement instead of having to conduct field trials.”

Kaiser and her team developed diploid potatoes that are self-compatible. Through this process Kaiser and her team discovered multiple genes and the environment determine whether some potatoes can produce self-fruit and seed, the release says.

The new potato varieties and genetic tools will allow researchers to “examine the genetic foundations of self-fertility, and insect and disease resistance,” says Kaiser. “This way, we can create new potato varieties that were previously infeasible.”

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