Breeding

Screening for higher-yielding crop traits revolutionised

To drive progress toward higher-yielding crops, a team from the University of Illinois is revolutionising the ability to screen plants for key traits across an entire field, writes Hugo Claver, Web editor for Future Farming, in a recent article. The team analysed data collected with specialised hyperspectral cameras that capture part of the light spectrum (much of which is invisible to the human eye) that is reflected off the surface of plants. Using hyperspectral analysis, scientists can tease out meaningful information from these bands of reflected light to estimate traits related to photosynthesis.

Dutch courage: The ‘potato covenant model’ shows the way for breeding blight-resistant varieties

Across the channel in the Netherlands a remarkable thing is happening. The whole supply chain has worked together through the ‘Potato Covenant’ to shift the organic potato sector to 100% use of robust, blight-resistant varieties. So, why not in the UK, asks Phil Sumption in this article published on his blog Agricology.

From hunger to profitable harvest: How GMO, CRISPR-edited plants can help curb $220 billion in annual crop losses

Plant diseases arguably pose the biggest threat to agriculture, exacting a dramatic economic toll and endangering the livelihoods of farmers all over the world, writes Steven Cerier in this article published by Genetic Literacy Project (GLP). Scientists in the Netherlands and Ireland have successfully carried out field trials of a disease-resistant genetically engineered potato. The new variety was created through a process of cisgenesis.

The ‘Flight to Vitality’ project: A fresh perspective on potato growth

Neil Budko is an associate professor in the Numerical Analysis Group at TU Delft in the Netherlands. In this article he and his colleagues’ involvement in the “Flight to Vitality” seed potato project is explained in detail. With the Flight to Vitality project, HZPC and Averis Seeds want to jointly develop an objective test with which the vitality of batches of seed potatoes can be measured and predicted.

Canadian Private Potato Breeders Network elects new president

At the annual meeting of the Canadian Private Potato Breeders Network CPPBN, held on March 4 and 5, 2020 in Guelph Ontario, the group elected Andre Gagnon as President for a 2 year term. “Andre is an active private potato breeder for the past 14 years and has released several varieties, notably the variety “Alliston” which has proven to be outstanding in Ontario,” says Dr Peter VanderZaag, secretary of CPPBN.

CIP and partners publish a ‘Manual for seed potato production using aeroponics’

The full title of this new book, authored by scientists working at CIP, INIAP, and CORPOICA in Latin America, is Manual for seed potato production using aeroponics. Ten years of experience in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Aeroponics is a technique for producing potato minitubers (corresponding to the pre-basic seed category) in formal seed systems. aeroponics is part of an integrated proposal of CIP and its partners to manage seed potato degeneration.

International Women’s Day: Interview with Canadian potato researcher, Dr Helen Tai

Dr Helen Tai is Research Scientist – Plant Genetics and Genomics (specializing in potatoes) at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Fredericton Research and Development Centre in the country’s New Brunswick province. AAFC recently published the interview below with Dr Tai. Even though I didn’t start out studying plants I feel very lucky to be back where I grew up, studying potatoes. I guess it’s true what they say about the apple not falling far from the tree!

USDA grant supports potato breeding and genetics program

Michigan State University received $700,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to invest in its potato breeding and genetics program. The award is part of a $2.25 million four-part grant to support potato breeding in strategic areas across the country, which includes partnering institutions University of Minnesota, North Dakota State University and the University of Wisconsin.

How the humble potato changed the world

In his 1957 essay collection Mythologies, the French philosopher and literary critic Roland Barthes called chips (la frite), a food that comes from a crop native to the Americas, “patriotic” and “the alimentary sign of Frenchness”. Despite its origins in the Andes, it’s an incredibly successful global food Just a century earlier, a potato disease prompted a famine that halved Ireland’s[Read More…]

GMO blight-resistant potato expected to help over 300,000 farmers in Uganda

Stakeholders working within the potato sector in Uganda are confident about the wide adoption of a new bioengineered late blight resistant potato. Dubbed the “3R Victoria” potato, the yet to be released variety could help over 300,000 smallholder farmers in Uganda achieve higher yields at a lower cost with less exposure to chemicals. At an expert consultative meeting held in[Read More…]

Canada revamps its potato breeding program

It’s been a little over a year since Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) began revamping its potato breeding program. In addition to making the program more efficient and up to date, the move reflects a strong desire by the AAFC to make the program more responsive to the needs of the Canadian potato industry, writes Mark Halsall in an article published[Read More…]

US: PVMI to promote new varieties of potatoes

Always working to develop the “perfect” russet, the Potato Variety Management Institute’s (PVMI) main mission is to promote new varieties of potatoes in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and beyond. Bob Larson from AGInfo reports. PVMI Executive Director Jeanne Debons says it’s what they coordinate from their operation based in Bend, Oregon … DeBONS … “PVMI is a non-profit that represents the[Read More…]

CIP in Uganda: Experts expect 40-50% adoption of new blight resistant GMO potato variety Victoria

Stakeholders working within the potato sector in Uganda are confident about the wide adoption of a new bio-engineered late blight resistant potato. Dubbed the “3R Victoria” potato, the yet to be released International Potato Center (CIP) bred variety could help over 300,000 smallholder farmers in Uganda achieve higher yields at a lower cost with less exposure to chemicals, it is[Read More…]

CIP: Improved potato varieties boost food security and livelihoods of millions in Asia

The potato is one of the most important crops in Asia, contributing to the food security and incomes of millions of families. Asian farmers produced almost 196 million metric tons of potatoes in 2017—about half of the global harvest—and many of those potatoes were bred by scientists at the International Potato Center (CIP).

How a new generation of autonomous robots help plant breeders to shape the crops of tomorrow

In a research field off Highway 54 last autumn, corn stalks shimmered in rows 40-feet deep. Girish Chowdhary, an agricultural engineer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, bent to place a small white robot at the edge of a row marked 103. The robot, named TerraSentia, resembled a souped up version of a lawn mower, with all-terrain wheels and[Read More…]

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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