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Spud-tastic: New lab grows University of Idaho seed potato program

The health and success of Idaho’s staple crop is receiving renewed support with the launch of the new University of Idaho Seed Potato Germplasm Laboratory. As Emily Pearce reports for Moscow-Pullman Daily News, the $5.6 million lab opened its doors to the community with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, complete with potato-themed desserts and guided tours of the new space.

The Seed Potato Germplasm Program aims to “establish, maintain and distribute disease-free germplasm and mini-tubers for domestic and international seed potato growers and researchers,” according to the program’s website.

The laboratory moved in November into the new facility, where researchers and students could continue advancing their work on various potato health and growing techniques, including virus cleanup, said Jen Root, senior director of development at the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

The new facility will allow program director Jenny Durrin and her student employees to triple their yearly production as demands for disease-free germplasm and mini-tubers increase, said Michael Parrella, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

Students in the program are taught tissue culture techniques and micropropagation, along with virus cleanup, Durrin said.

Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Read the full story here
Photo: Program director Jenny Durrin in lab. Courtesy University of Idaho

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