Breeding

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Pepsico’s registration of the FL-2027 variety of potatoes, used in Lays potato chips, has been revoked by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights’ Authority in India.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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New seed potato lab will benefit Idaho’s spud industry

The University of Idaho is close to opening a new Seed Potato Germplasm Laboratory, which is the place where most Idaho potatoes are “born.” “This is a really top-end facility,” said Doug Gross, who grows potatoes for the processing industry near Wilder. “It’s important for Idaho as the number one potato and seed potato producing state to have a world-class facility that we bring our seed through.”

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Agrico presents new varieties during ‘Meet & Greet’ event

On Wednesday 3 and Thursday 4 November, Agrico presented two new varieties during an intimate ‘Meet and Greet’ event at its breeding and research farm, Agrico Research in Bant. For many years, Agrico has organized a well-attended varieties show, which takes place in early November, during which it presents its latest growing results to interested parties all over the world.

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The ‘potato custodians’ in the Andes who are safeguarding this crop’s future

In the Peruvian Andes, “potato custodians” are preserving hundreds of varieties of our humble tuber. In this CNN video, aired a couple of days ago, you will meet one of the hundreds of Latin American “custodians” of indigenous potato varieties. There are about 4,000 native potato varieties in the world, and most of them are grown in the Andes. Only a handful are available in supermarkets around the world. Climate change is threatening agricultural systems, making this kind of diversity an insurance policy for our future food security.

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One in 100,000: Breeders in Rhinelander seek the next commercial potato variety

Last Thursday, Jeffrey Endelman stood in a windy field east of Rhinelander and fished a diagram out of his fanny pack. “I’m continuing my selections in family number 91, at the moment, as I round the corner,” he explained to Ben Meyer of WXPR. Endelman was inspecting some of the 170 tillable acres at UW-Madison’s Rhinelander Agricultural Research Station. Over the decades, UW-Madison’s program has become one of the premier potato breeding programs in the country.

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MSU researchers breeding beetle-resistant potato varieties

Potato farmers face many challenges. One tiny, yet devastating, pest is the Colorado potato beetle. It can cause immense damage to potato crops. It’s also notorious for becoming resistant to chemical insecticides. In a new study, published in Crop Science, researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) describe genetic tools to develop potato varieties with improved natural resistance to the potato bug.

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Australian researchers study whether ‘plant medicines’ could help treat cancer, obesity

“Plant cures” are the key to world-first research by a team of scientists at the University of Queensland (UQ), led by Professor David Craik. “We’re engineering plants into super-efficient producers of next-generation medicines,” Professor Craik said. “So we want to put molecules into, say, potatoes, so that effectively you can have your french fries and not worry about the consequences.”

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Scottish treasure trove of rare potato species could hold secrets to potato problems

A priceless living library of rare potato species is being trawled for traits which could offer resistance to pests, diseases, viruses and  the looming issue of climate change. The Commonwealth Potato Collection (CPC), the only potato gene bank in the UK and only one of a handful in Europe, is located at the James Hutton Institute (JHI) campus at Invergowrie, and is regarded by geneticists as  a vital resource for potato breeders.

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‘Red Candy’: Technico’s early maturing red skinned table potato variety

In India, in North Bengal and in the Bihar regions, potato farmers have long awaited an early bulking potato variety with better storability to cater for evolving grower needs. Until now, the absence of such a variety with this unique combination of characteristics has left farmers either to miss the early market opportunity to reap better prices or book higher losses during storage. Red Candy, a new variety launched by Technico Agri Sciences Ltd, aptly addresses the potato growers’ needs and help them to reap the twin benefits of early bulking with better storability.

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‘G+ Tools’: A new gender-responsive toolkit for breeding

In response to the challenges of climate change, growing demands for food, and persistent malnutrition, crop breeders across the Global South are developing more resilient, productive and nutritious potato varieties. The G+ Tools – a new gender-responsive toolkit for breeding developed by the International Potato Center and the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas – promises to address this barrier by advancing a holistic framework to evaluate what traits men and women, farmers and consumers want in their potato, sweetpotato, cassava, and other crop varieties.

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US researchers identify potato cultivars with a low glycemic index

A team of researchers at Montana State University and North Dakota State University recently reported on results of a study into potato varieties thought to have a low glycemic index (GI). The research team evaluated 60 potato cultivars to identify cultivars with low amylopectin – that are thought to have low GI potential. The researchers identified five most promising cultivars.

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