Breeding, Europe, UK, Ireland

Coming soon, the not-so-humble potato with more vitamin C than a lemon

Potatoes with as much vitamin C as a lemon could be grown and sold in England within five years using “game-changing” gene-editing technology, scientists have predicted. Researchers at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee could double the amount of vitamin C in a new strain of potato by snipping out sections of its DNA, as Max Stephens reports for The Telegraph.

Lemons and oranges contain approximately 53mg of vitamin C per 100g. But Prof Derek Stewart, director of The Advanced Plant Growth Centre at the institute, told The Telegraph his team could increase levels in a potato to around 40mg. He said the team would look to “overshoot” this figure “significantly further” to compensate for the loss in vitamin C that occurs during cooking.

They are also developing strains which cook in a third of the time, have greater resistance to disease, heat and pesticides with no loss in flavour. Gene editing, a separate process to gene modification, involves cutting out a small section of a plant’s DNA, allowing researchers to quickly develop new strains of crops which would have taken decades through natural cross-breeding.

Source: The Telegraph. Read the full story here
Photo: Credit Kinga Krzeminska/Moment RF via The Telegraph

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