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November 17, 2017

81 – Potatoes; Past, Present and Future

In the industrialized world the potato is defined as one of a few varieties of tuber crops.  But there is tremendous diversity available to be exploited, and potato breeders are folding that into modern germplasm using a variety of methods. Dr. David Douches from Michigan State University describes some of the current efforts in traditional potato breeding.  The history of potato improvement is discussed, along with the efforts to introduce genes from wild populations that can improve cultivated varieties. These traits are mostly centered around color, disease resistance and nutrition. We also discuss efforts going on in the broader potato world, using genetic engineering to improve disease resistance and storage, both which could be of benefit to the developing world and the environment.

Dr. Douches program in potato breeding and genetics at MSU can be accessed here.

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