Staff in Cell and Molecular Sciences at The James Hutton Institute in the UK have a distinguished track record of research in plant and crop science, including genetic and genomic analysis. They have contributed to international consortia conducting whole genome sequencing of important crop plants.
This knowledge has enabled the identification of genes underlying key traits and provided the underpinning background knowledge to develop populations and molecular markers that have been deployed in commercial breeding programmes through James Hutton Limited (JHL).
The Mylnefield Trust recognise the needed to foster skills in contemporary plant breeding and enable a career path for future leaders in genetics and breeding. They will fund three trainee plant breeders to study for a PhD at The James Hutton Institute starting one per year over the next 3 years.
Potato breeding is at the cusp of major transformations largely driven by the application of modern genomics and genetics approaches to potato improvement, as well as the adoption of diploid breeding by many breeders.
Development of a GS-based approach would radically enhance potato breeding by enabling early stage selection for complex traits, thereby facilitating faster identification of elite breeding parents with desirable traits. This would lead to rapid improvement in commercial varieties and reduced time in getting these to market enabling the UK Potato breeding industry to remain competitive and grow its market share.