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Thwarting the wart: University of Prince Edward Island study seeks wart-resistant potato variety

Researchers at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) are beginning their search for a potato variety more resistant to potato wart following a provincial economic loss of 300 million pounds of potatoes, according to a report by Daria Maystruk for The Charlatan, Carleton University’s independent news publication.

Last October, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) found the largest concentration of potato wart in decades in two potato fields. In November, the CFIA suspended all potato shipments to the U.S. to prevent the spread of potato wart, later suspending domestic exports as well.

Genome Atlantic, a biotech company based in Nova Scotia, gave the UPEI researchers $20,000 to find a more wart-resistant potato variety and prevent future bans. This was one of eight climate change-related projects funded by the Genome Atlantic Small-Scale Climate Change Fund.

Xiuquan (Xander) Wang, a UPEI associate professor working on the project, said the funding from Genome Atlantic will go toward comparing the genes of different potato varieties. By finding a wart-resistant gene, the researchers could either modify current varieties to be more resilient to diseases like potato wart or make an entirely new wart-resistant variety.

Source: The Charlatan. Read the full story here
Photo: Credit Emmanuella Onyeme via The Charlatan

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