Spuds are a staple diet for many people on Earth. While potatoes seem like robust vegetables, they’re actually pretty susceptible to diseases. Enter the researchers from the TSL Potato Partnership Project, who want to use genetic modification to turn the lowly potato into a disease and bruise-resistant super spud. The five-year super-spud project launched earlier this week, and is headed up by Jonathan Jones, a world leading expert on the genetics of plant diseases at Sainsbury Lab in the UK. The project is set to receive £841,000 ($129,0000) from the Horticulture and Potato Initiative (HAP), funded by theBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. The overall aim is to create a new variety of potato that can pass through regulatory approval and eventually enter the U.S. and EU market.
Jones said in a release that the team is still far from completing its mission (they just got started!), but he did point out the benefits that a genetically modified spud could have. “If [the potato] passes those tests and if it is approved for planting, this potato could prevent many tonnes of pesticides and fungicides being sprayed on our land, increase yields and make a healthier crisp or chip,” he said.
According to an MIT report, the potato will contain three genes from Jones’ research lab that are known to “confer resistance to late blight”, and two additional genes designed to “block infestation by a tiny worm called the potato cyst nematode.”
The spud will also contain DNA used by the American company Simplot to genetically engineer a potato that recently received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Here Comes the Genetically Modified, Disease-Resilient Super Spud