Long Term Goal:
To address potato breeding constraints, our long-term goal is to convert potato into a diploid (2x) inbred-hybrid crop. New germplasm resources, coupled with improved methodologies in genomics and quantitative genetics, will allow us to reconstruct potato as a 2x crop amenable to breeding strategies analogous to those used to produce elite maize F1 hybrids. This change will accelerate breeding timelines, dramatically increasing the rate of cultivar improvement and the ability of potato breeders to meet the needs of consumers and the industry.
Stakeholders have told us that the three most significant constraints to success in their operations are extreme and unpredictable weather events resulting from climate change, financial concerns centered on the need to remain profitable with increasing demands from consumers, and expectations for environmental sustainability in a high input crop. In each case, existing cultivars are unable to fulfill the needs of growers, consumers and society. The potato industry depends on new cultivars in order to respond to these critical concerns, but traditional potato breeding imposes substantial constraints on the ability to meet those needs. We are convinced that a paradigm shift in the potato breeding platform is necessary to address these system-wide industry challenges.
- Determine the genetic basis and environmental stability of self-fertility.
- Develop self-fertile, diploid germplasm that captures the allelic diversity of tetraploid cultivars.
- Create inbred lines that are fixed (homozygous) for key traits.
- Develop agronomic and economic frameworks for incorporating TPS into the potato production system and assessing its impacts.
This project is funded by the USDA NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative grant (2019-51181-30021).