Breeding

Biotech Opinion: ‘Trust, Critical Thinking, and Potatoes’

This op-ed article is by Dave Douches (PhD), professor and Director of the Potato Breeding and Genetics Program and Director of the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology Graduate Program at Michigan State University, and Project Director of the Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Partnership. “As a scientist working in potato breeding for over 40 years, one may wonder why I am talking about trust and critical thinking.”

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Dakota Russet now approved for McDonald’s fries

The most recent potato variety to join the list of approved McDonald’s potato varieties is the Dakota Russet, developed at North Dakota State University by Asunta Thompson, associate professor of plant science and potato breeder. “This is a dream come true,” Thompson said. “Having our russet accepted by McDonald’s for their french fries is the gold standard we all strive for…

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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 are beginning their search for a potato variety more resistant to potato wart following a provincial economic loss of 300 million pounds of potatoes. 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.

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Public-private potato breeding partnership to develop climate-resilient potatoes

The International Potato Center (CIP), the globally active Dutch seed potato company HZPC, and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) recently announced the launch of a second, five-year phase of their partnership to develop climate-resilient potatoes for tropical and subtropical conditions. CIP and HZPC will combine their experience, resources and germplasm to breed and select potato varieties suitable for farmers in tropical and subtropical Asia.

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On the path to stress-tolerant potatoes

A good source of fibre and full of antioxidants, the potato is one of the most important food crops in the world – a crop that climate change is taking its toll on. How do different potatoes respond to heat, drought and waterlogging stresses? EU-backed scientists are investigating the changes that make potatoes resilient or susceptible.

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HZPC: ‘New generation potato varieties promising for more food security worldwide’

The new generation of potato varieties is performing better and better under extreme climate conditions such as drought, according to the recent sustainability report of potato breeder HZPC, which was published on Earth Day (April 22). If the development continues, HZPC believes these innovations will contribute significantly to more food security worldwide, especially in regions where hunger is a real threat.

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Video: Food fight – The battle over GMOs

Imagine being able to prevent childhood blindness with rice. No, this isn’t a biblical miracle. It’s the reality of genetically modified organisms. A 2015 Pew survey found that a majority of Americans don’t think GMO foods are safe to eat. But the same poll found a notable exception to that trend. 88% of scientists said they were safe to eat. Why?

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Seed banks: The last line of defense against a threatening global food crisis

As the risks from the climate crisis and global conflict increase, roughly 1,700 seed banks are increasingly considered a priceless resource that could one day prevent a worldwide food crisis, write Salomé Gómez-Upegui and Rita Liu in an extensive article published by The Guardian. One of these is the Potato Park, located in Pisac, Peru.

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Bejo introduces its first True Potato Seed hybrid

Bejo has obtained breeder’s rights on its first True Potato Seed (TPS) variety. The company says in a news release that this new potato hybrid, named Oliver F1, can be cultivated directly from botanical seed and, after transplanting, produces table potatoes in one season. Oliver F1 is a slightly floury table potato with an oval shape, smooth skin and very good taste, the company says.

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Wild relatives and crop breeding: Finding better tools for future-proofing potatoes

Thanks to a collaboration between researchers across the world, including the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, potato breeders will now have a much better toolkit to develop new varieties best suited to their needs in a changing climate. By identifying useful traits—like local adaptability and climate flexibility— in some of the dozens of wild varieties of potatoes, researchers could help breeders cut down on the time and cost to develop new cultivars.

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Podcast: Potato breeding updates from the University of Guelph

Potatoes in Canada last spoke to Vanessa Currie, a potato breeding technician at the University of Guelph, at the 2021 Canadian Potato Summit, where she shared exciting new varieties being examined. In this episode of Tuber Talk, Potatoes in Canada guest host Dylan Sjolie catches up with Vanessa to recap the 2021 growing season and hear what’s new for the program in 2022.

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Max Planck Society: Genome reconstruction opens doors to the transformation of potato breeding

More than 20 years after the first release of the human genome, scientists at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München and the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany, have for the first time deciphered the highly complex genome of the potato. Their impressive technical feat, published in Nature Genetics, will accelerate efforts to breed superior varieties.

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Late blight disease resistant potatoes: MSU receives $13 million USAID award for research

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Feed the Future Initiative has awarded a five-year, $13 million award for a collaborative partnership led by Michigan State University (MSU).  The Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Partnership will bring late blight disease resistant (LBR) potatoes in farmer-preferred varieties to the Asian countries of Bangladesh and Indonesia, and the African countries of Kenya and Nigeria.

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Maine researchers work on climate-resistant potato

Maine researchers are on their way to creating a climate-resistant potato in order to maintain Maines’s ability to produce potato harvests. This has become a growing threat to Maine as climate change has impacted the growth of potatoes, making their quality go down, and the crop numbers drop dramatically.

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Can we engineer crops to withstand climate change?

Jennifer Brophy is an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford, and is working on methods she hopes will be used to alter commercial plant species so they survive harsh conditions. By changing the genome of both commercial crops and soil bacteria, she thinks it may be possible to help plants survive droughts by retaining more water during a dry spell, or growing deeper roots to reach soil that hasn’t dried out yet.

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Canadian private potato breeders elect new leadership, share expertise and genetic material

At the annual meeting of the Canadian Private Potato Breeders Network (CPPBN) on January 26, 2022, the group elected Dr Robert Coffin as President for a 2-year term. Robert has had an illustrious career as a potato specialist working both in the public and private sectors. Along with his wife Joyce they have their own private breeding program, which has released several outstanding potato varieties including the cultivar Prospect.

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Breeders go back to the future to combat the world’s deadliest potato disease

This [email protected] story digs into a new rapid-fire approach to potato breeding that makes farmer-favorite varieties resistant to late blight, which could increase profits by at least 40% wherever potato is cropped. The secret? The latest biotech methods mixed with the oldest breeding trick in the book – harvesting the wild genes of the potato’s distant ancestors. 

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Meet ‘Nemo’ – Branston’s new fast-cooking, best-roasting potato variety

“We were searching for a quicker-cooking potato variety to make crispy, golden roasties that taste deliciously buttery, and this is what we found,” according to Lincolnshire-based potato growing business Branston. Branston says this new variety has been developed through careful crossing between Inca Bella and the popular, red-skinned Salad variety Franceline.

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Opinion: Indian farmers’ rights and Pepsico’s ‘hot potato’

The revocation of registration granted to the global food giant Pepsico by India’s Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights’ Authority (PPV&FRA) further muddies an already unclear picture for the seed and bio-technology innovation sector in India, writes senior journalist R Srinivasan in an article for The Hindu’s Business Line.

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WPC webinar: ‘Little potatoes and TPS – Good things come in small packages’

The World Potato Congress is delighted to announce its December 2021 webinar featuring Joel VanderSchaaf, General Manager of Tuberosum Technologies Inc. on December 14, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard time (USA/Canada). Little potatoes are the fastest growing market segment for fresh potatoes in North America and are gaining interest around the world. True Potato Seed  (TPS) is a burgeoning technology that has gained significant momentum amongst the potato research community.

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PepsiCo loses rights to Lays potato variety in India

Pepsico’s registration of the FL-2027 variety of potatoes, used in Lays potato chips, has been revoked by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights’ Authority in India. This comes two years after PepsiCo India provoked outrage by suing nine Gujarati farmers for allegedly infringing patent rights by growing its registered potato variety.

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CIP: Putting the world’s largest potato collection in the deep freeze

The International Potato Center (CIP) is conserving the future of potato genetic diversity in the world’s largest potato cryobank and setting new standards to transform the way that other priority clonal crops like sweetpotato and yams are held in safe storage. These innovations ensure we have an essential backup collection of the clonal crops that 300 million smallholders in developing countries depend on.

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Univ of Maine is developing a ‘super potato’ resistant to climate change

For decades, the University of Maine has devoted valuable agricultural research to studying how to improve potato crops, a central element of the state’s agricultural economy. Over the past year, the focus of the program’s mission has ramped up with one particular goal in mind: make potatoes that are resistant to climate change.

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