GMO, North America, Research, Studies/Reports, Sustainability, Weather/Climate

A new era for potatoes: Canadian-led study develops genetic roadmap for climate resilience

In a significant stride towards sustainable agriculture, a Canadian-led team has developed the most comprehensive genetic roadmap of the potato and its closest relatives, as Ivan Semeniuk reports for The Globe and Mail.

The study, led by plant scientist Martina Strömvik at McGill University, aims to enhance the potato’s resilience to climate change and secure its future as a key component of global food security. The team created a super-pangenome of the potato, identifying genetic variations in domestic and related species that could be used to breed hybrid, climate-resilient varieties.

The research also provides insights into the evolutionary history of the potato, which was first domesticated in the Andes mountains around 10,000 years ago. The super-pangenome could be used to develop potato varieties resistant to extreme weather events and diseases, which are expected to increasingly affect Canadian potato crops due to climate change.

The study opens new possibilities in molecular breeding, with the potential to create more resilient potato varieties using CRISPR gene-editing technology.

Source: The Globe and Mail. Read the full story here
Photo: Jeff Wood cultivates a potato field in New Tryon, PEI, on July 20, 2001. Credit Andrew Vaughan/CP

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