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Crafting a super spud: Researchers set the stage for climate-resistant potatoes poised to enhance nutrition

Scientists have created a super pangenome that captures the complete genetic diversity across multiple potato species to identify genetic traits that can help improve its resilience and nutritional quality. The researchers analyzed data from public data banks, including gene banks in Canada, the US and Peru. 

The pangenome includes genome sequences of 296 varieties of potatoes and wild versions of 60 species. The researchers note this is the “most extensive collection of genome sequence data for the potato and its relatives to date.” 

“By compiling this data representing the vast genetic variation of potato and its wild relatives, we are hoping to inform work to improve potato germplasm for climate-resilience and for safeguarding food security,” author Martina Strömvik, Ph.D. and associate professor at McGill University, Canada, tells Food Ingredients First.

The researchers highlight that the super pangenome could help identify specific genes to create a “super spud” through traditional breeding or gene editing technology.  

The researchers built the potato super pangenome on 60 out of roughly 110 potato species.“Potato has been selected for beneficial traits and occasionally crossed with wild species since its domestication 10,000 years ago,” adds Strömvik. 

“With the amount of sequence data now available and with the type of computational sequence analyses we can do, potato improvement approaches using wild species can be more targeted to genetic information we find in wild species.” 

Source: Food Ingredients First. Read the full story here
Photo: Credit Food Ingredients First

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