Pre-breeding project aims to create more resilient potato varieties
Four projects were recently granted funding as part of the Nordic Public Private Partnership (PPP) collaboration for pre-breeding at NordGen, according to a release.
The funding is for enabling progress in potatoes, spring wheat, oats and berries.
SustainPotato is a collaborative project in which more than 300 potato varieties are included to develop resistance against several skin blemish diseases and late blight (Phytophthora infestans).
This initiative unites three potato plant breeding programs in Sweden (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU), Norway (Graminor AS), and Denmark (Danespo), along with researchers from the Norwegian Institute for Bioeconomics (NIBIO), SLU, and NordGen. The primary objective of the project is to establish the groundwork for creating more resilient potato varieties that can better withstand diseases, leading to increased yields and decreased reliance on pesticides.
According to the release, this initiative stands out as the inaugural Nordic collaboration in potato breeding. The most significant challenges in potato breeding involve adapting to and evolving with diseases. Muath Alsheikh, the head of research and development at Graminor and the project leader of SustainPotato, notes that if the climate becomes drier or experiences greater weather fluctuations, the associated problems are likely to intensify.
The majority of the varieties originate from the involved plant breeding programs, with NordGen providing genotyping and phenotyping data for approximately 40 varieties preserved in the genebank. This material has not been utilized in plant breeding efforts previously.