The annual Texas A&M Potato Breeding and Variety Development Program Field Day, hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Barrett Potato Farms, will be July 28. Isabel Vales, Ph.D., AgriLife Research potato breeder Vales said it has been a challenging year to grow potatoes in Springlake. Potatoes emerged late and had to endure inclement weather. “It is a miracle to see tubers underground,” she said.
‘In time of test, family is best’: How food system sustainability relies on the potato’s ‘wild relatives’
Looking ahead to the next 50 years, potato researchers and farmers have significant concerns about producing enough food under the stressors of climate change. However, a potential solution exists within the potato “family”, the International Potato Center (CIP), based in Lima, Peru says in a recent blog post. We republish the full post below.
Breeders in Britain believe they have the tools to stay one step ahead of late blight in potatoes, despite concern about new and more aggressive strains emerging across Europe. Since 2000, researchers have had technology that allows rapid identification of any genetic changes – or new “clones” – in populations of Phytophthora infestans. In the Netherlands, Wageningen-based Solynta’s research team lead Michiel de Vries says it is now up to the breeding companies to develop resistant varieties.
As agriculture looks to better farming practices to sequester more carbon, breeders look to make new crops to help, writes SeedWorld’s Joe Funk in this article. “Carbon sequestration”, he says, “it’s a buzzword that’s slowly trickling down into agriculture practices. But how could breeding for carbon farming actually help the industry?”
Researchers at the hybrid potato breeding company Solynta and Wageningen University & Research (WUR) have identified, cloned and characterized the gene for self-compatibility in potatoes called “Sli”. This discovery will have a profound impact on potato breeding. With Sli defined, breeders can implement hybrid breeding which will allow for faster and focused rather than opportunistic breeding. The technique could also help to quickly develop new potato varieties that are adapted to local conditions such as drought or flooding.
Europatat, Copa-Cogeca, Euroseeds and Starch Europe last week released a co-signed statement in which they support the conclusions of an EU Commission study, saying that the current GMO legislation in the EU ‘faces clear implementation challenges and is no longer fit for purpose’. The associations say: “We strongly welcome the Commission’s intention to initiate a short-term policy action on plants derived from targeted mutagenesis and cisgenesis. We hope that such a policy initiative will create a more enabling and innovation-friendly environment for products resulting from these breeding methods.”
A research team led by Professor Huang Sanwen with the Agricultural Genomics Institute at Shenzhen initiated the “Upotato Plan”, which utilized the theory and methods of genome design to carry out hybrid potato breeding, ‘re-inventing’ the potato from a clonally propagated tetraploid crop into an inbred line-based diploid crop, propagated by seeds.
Once neglected by urban consumers, Andean native potatoes are now essential ingredients for some of the most sophisticated gastronomy of the world, according to the authors of this article, published in Choices: The Magazine of Food, Farm, and Resource Issues. André Devaux, Guy Hareau, Miguel Ordinola, Jorge Andrade-Piedra, and Graham Thiele write, “from colored chips to delicacy vegetables and even liquors, new products are making their way into high-income market niches.”
Over three decades, Tasmanian-based business Agronico has shifted its focus from an agriculture consultancy business to all things mini tubers and seed potatoes. The business is always aiming to improve and is currently working on a five-year plan to enhance customer experience, while offering world-class procedures and facilities for seed potato storage.
Dave Holm was destined to work with potatoes. He was raised on a potato farm in southeast Idaho, where his dad and grandfather instilled in him a love of one of the world’s most important crops. His interest extends to the complexities of the tubers, as well as their nutritional properties. This June, Holm will retire after 43 years of service to Colorado State University’s San Luis Valley Research Center and Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.
Less than a year after the opening of the World-class Scientific Center “Agrotechnologies for the Future”, Russian scientists had a breakthrough: the first-ever vertical farm with dynamic LED lighting. They presented the first pre-production prototype of a vertical farm. The rapid seed reproduction facility combines state-of-the-art digital technology with organic farming techniques, and have grown healthy potato seed for further multiplication in the field.
Sweden’s Starch Producers ready to put CRISPR to work in developing ‘new climate-smart potato varieties’
Sweden’s Starch Producers organization expressed a very positive view about this conclusion from the European Commission’s study into new genomic techniques, and of the fresh optimism that it will now potentially be possible to use the CRISPR technique. Sweden’s Starch Producers will now be able to commercialise the efforts it has made in this field within the EU. They began a drive to use the CRISPR technique to develop new, climate-smart varieties of seed potatoes in 2014. The new varieties are now being cultivated for the second year.
European Seed has published its list of “The 20 Most Innovative Plant Varieties of 2020” recently. Marcel Bruins, Editorial Director of European Seed writes: “Let’s face it, not many people can make reliable predictions about the future. But do you know who has to make such predictions due to their jobs? Plant breeders!”. Two varieties from European potato breeding and seed companies made the list: ‘Alouette’ from Agrico, and HZPC’s ‘Cayman’ variety.
New PCN resilient varieties are now available thanks to advancements in potato breeding technologies writes Teagasc’s Denis Griffin and Dan Milbourne and Colm McDonnell of IPM Potato Group Ltd. Potato cyst nematodes (PCN) are increasingly problematic where potatoes are intensively grown. Until recently, very few potato varieties have been available for commercial production with resistance to both species of the pest.
USDA announced yesterday that it is extending deregulation to J.R. Simplot Company’s (Simplot) potato variety developed using genetic engineering, designated as Snowden Z6 (Z6 potato). The potato variety is engineered for late blight protection, lowered reducing sugars, low acrylamide potential and reduced black spot bruising.
A recently published article by academic experts Marc Ghislain, Rick Goodman and Alex Barekye describes the development of an African potato variety – transformed with three resistance genes from wild potato relatives – that provides resistance to late blight disease. The article was published by OpenAccessGovernment.
Averis Seeds B.V., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Royal Avebe, will be working together with the hybrid potato breeding company Solynta on the hybrid breeding of starch potato varieties, the companies announced in a press release. Hybrid breeding facilitates significantly faster development of new sustainable potato varieties compared to conventional breeding.
2Blades Foundation: Collaborative effort to bring a disease-resistant potato variety to market in Africa
Evanston, Illinois based 2Blades Foundation reports in its latest e-mail newsletter on the Foundation’s support for the International Potato Center’s African potato initiative. The Foundation make note in the newsletter that Chris Kennedy, Chairman of Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, Inc. and Bob Easter, President Emeritus of the University of Illinois, co-wrote a blog on how a collaborative effort to bring a disease-resistant potato variety to market in Africa is helping to build global food security.
Potatoes in the United States and Canada are a commodity. When selecting varieties, the colour of the skin tends to be the primary consideration. As new managing director of HZPC Americas Corp, Jeff Scramlin sees opportunities to increase market share by highlighting the distinguishing characteristics such as cooking types, flavors and textures. These efforts should help to de-commoditize potatoes, create demand and increase value through the chain in North America.
As of today, Agrico will be sharing the innovation of its sustainable Next Generation varieties on its online platform agricopotatoes.com. The company says in line with its digital transformation and the current circumstances resulting from the pandemic, it started building an online news platform at the end of last year to support its buyers and growers with important knowledge and information. This platform, Agrico Potatoes, will go live again today.
The future of potato breeding? UMaine professors trying to develop potato varieties using new DNA-based tools
Two professors at the University of Maine in Orono are working on breeding new potato varieties. Hannah Yechivi reports for News Center Maine that professor of crop ecology and management in the School of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Greg Porter, and assistant professor of plant genetics with the School of Biology and Ecology Dr. Han Tan are studying how to make more varieties using a new DNA-based tool.
Since 2018, HZPC and Averis Seeds have been collaborating in the “Flight to Vitality” research project. It is a quest for the factors that influence the germination capacity – and therefore the vitality – of seed potatoes. At the end of 2021, when the practical investigation is completed, the company says it is hoping that the mystery will be solved. The answer to one question has always remained unanswered: how is it possible that seed potatoes sometimes grow much better and faster than at other times?
A Prince Edward Island.-based researcher in Canada is unlocking the genetic make-up of potatoes in an effort to develop a variety that is resistant to common scab disease. Bourlaye Fofana, PhD, a molecular biologist and research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Harrington Research Farm, recently completed comparative gene expression profiling between two types of potatoes – Green Mountain, which[Read More…]
Two new potato varieties with ties to the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Aberdeen are poised to be released soon by the Tri-State Potato Research and Breeding Program. Rainier will be well suited for both the fresh and processed potato markets. It’s a cross of Canela Russet and an Aberdeen breeding clone. NDA050237B-1R is a vibrant, red clone that was crossed in North Dakota.
The potato breeder with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Aberdeen is using genetics from a wild spud relative to develop crosses that won’t turn green when exposed to light. Richard Novy, potato breeder with the agency’s Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Facility, plans to plant the first field generation of crosses developed to resist tuber greening this spring.
Roger Beachy still remembers the excitement of planting the first genetically altered food crop into United States soils. It was the summer of 1987 when he, along with a team of Monsanto scientists, transplanted tomatoes modified to resist a virus at the company’s research farm, near Jerseyville, Illinois. It would take almost a full decade before transgenic plants gained a serious foothold in U.S. soils, and they would not be those the idealistic young scientist envisioned.
An international team of researchers has struck an important blow in the ongoing evolutionary arms race with the notorious potato disease late blight (Phytophthora infestans). This disease, which caused the Irish potato famine in the 1840s, continues to reduce potato yields today and can lead to devastating losses. A new gene and it’s relatives were found in the Solanum americanum plant and seem to provide potatoes resistance against all races of P. infestans . A publication on the new Rpi-amr1-gene appears today in the journal Nature Plants.
HZPC Americas Corp. hired Aron Derbidge as Sales and Key Account Manager, bringing with him over 10 years of experience developing and marketing seed potatoes in the U.S. and Canada.