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Potato breeder to plant first field generation of crosses with greening resistance

The potato breeder with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Aberdeen is using genetics from a wild spud relative to develop crosses that won’t turn green when exposed to light. Richard Novy, potato breeder with the agency’s Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Facility, plans to plant the first field generation of crosses developed to resist tuber greening this spring.

According to John O’Connell of Idaho State Journal, Novy said potatoes with the trait can also be exposed to light without accumulating compounds that confer a bitter taste, known as glycoalkaloids.

Novy introduced the trait into his program by crossing the wild species Solanum microdontum with a modern Russet, thereby making it easier to make future crosses.

Novy learned about the trait when he read a scientific journal paper by John Bamberg, project leader with the U.S. Potato Genebank in Wisconsin. One of Bamberg’s staff members had noticed some wild tubers exposed to light weren’t turning green.

Novy said it will still be about a decade before the first greening-resistant clones pass through the requisite field evaluations and can be released as varieties.

Source: Idaho State Journal. Full report here
Photo: Rich Novy | Jim O’Connell / Idaho State Journal file

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