Across Regions, Breeding, Studies/Reports, Varieties

Spud debate: How diverse are the genes of the potato?

Related imageThe potato is a crop vital to feeding the teeming human species worldwide. When colonialism first disseminated the spud widely from its South American beginnings, it became a staple crop of a booming global population of billions. When it failed, like with fungal blight of the mid-19thcentury in Northern Europe and Ireland, millions died or were displaced. The 21st century implications are clear: as billions more people are going to need sustenance, the rich source of a wide swath of vitamins and minerals is likely to be as important as ever. At the same time, some critics have pointed out that the dangers of mono-cultures proven by privations of the past have yet to be learned by societies great and small. All this is to say that plant biologists have a tuber controversy on their hands as deep as the DNA of the spud itself. The latest scientific debate has played out in the Proceedings in the National Academy of Sciences. Read more


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