Researchers Trace Potato's Origins, Its Untaped Potential
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp
Date: January 05, 2018 03:14AM
To learn how the potato was domesticated, and how its DNA evolved over time,
a team of researchers from the United States conducted a plant genome
project to understand the crop's domestication and identified potential
genes to improve on in the future.
The team examined wild and cultivated potato species, including those found
in South American markets, domestic North American varieties, and landraces,
which are cultivated potatoes analogous to heirloom breeds.
A change that accompanied the domestication process is reduced pollen
fertility. While some wild species must be fertile to disperse seeds,
cultivated species grow from tubers. The team aligned genomes of each potato
they studied to the "doubled monoploid" (DM) potato. The tuber's relative
genetic simplicity compared to commercial potatoes made it easier to
sequence using available next generation sequencing technology.
Understanding the tuber's genetic blueprint could help growers transition to
a successful breeding scheme that will produce desirable varieties.