Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Discovery of genetic mechanism allowing potato cultivation in northern latitudes

Date:
March 7, 2013
Source:
Wageningen University and Research Centre
Summary:
An international team of scientists has discovered a genetic mechanism which allows potato plants to develop tubers during the long days of spring and summer in northern latitudes. Wild potatoes, which originate in the Andes of South America, were brought to Europe by Spanish sailors in the late 16th century. Naturally occurring near the Equator, Andean potatoes develop tubers on days which are relatively shorter than those in high latitude summer. Newly discovered mutations in a single potato gene are likely to have contributed to the widespread success of the potato, which is the third most important food crop in the world today.

An international team of scientists headed by Wageningen University, part of Wageningen UR, has discovered a genetic mechanism which allows potato plants to develop tubers during the long days of spring and summer in northern latitudes. Wild potatoes, which originate in the Andes of South America, were brought to Europe by Spanish sailors in the late 16th century. Naturally occurring near the Equator, Andean potatoes develop tubers on days which are relatively shorter than those in high latitude summer. Newly discovered mutations in a single potato gene are likely to have contributed to the widespread success of the potato, which is the third most important food crop in the world today.

Although the potato was probably domesticated as long as 10,000 years ago, the distribution of this crop plant was initially restricted to farming communities in what are today Chile, Bolivia and Peru. Only after the Spanish conquest was the potato imported to Europe. Since the European growing season of spring and summer is characterised by long days and short nights, native South American potato varieties would only begin making tubers in autumn, when the days last 12 hours or less. However, modern potato varieties show a wide variation in the timing of tuber formation, with early varieties starting as early as April. The mutations in the newly discovered regulator of tuber formation allow potatoes to escape the original short day regulation mechanism suited to the Andes, so that potatoes can grow and be cultivated in northern Europe and other northern latitudes throughout the world.

The team of scientists, headed by Wageningen UR Plant Breeding, has published its findings on the gene allowing potato to grow and flourish far from its Andean origins in the international scientific journal Nature. The authors also describe a variety of mutations in the tuber formation regulator gene which occur in different combinations in modern potato cultivars, giving rise to early, medium and late varieties, depending on the combination of the gene variants present in the tetraploid crop. Knowledge of the genes underlying the mechanism of early development will allow plant breeders to tailor new potato varieties to various geographic locations.

The research was co funded by the European Union, Technology Foundation STW and Wageningen UR.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wageningen University and Research Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bjorn Kloosterman, Josι A. Abelenda, Marνa del Mar Carretero Gomez, Marian Oortwijn, Jan M. de Boer, Krissana Kowitwanich, Beatrix M. Horvath, Herman J. van Eck, Cezary Smaczniak, Salomι Prat, Richard G. F. Visser, Christian W. B. Bachem. Naturally occurring allele diversity allows potato cultivation in northern latitudes. Nature, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nature11912

Cite This Page:

Wageningen University and Research Centre. "Discovery of genetic mechanism allowing potato cultivation in northern latitudes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130307092328.htm>.
Wageningen University and Research Centre. (2013, March 7). Discovery of genetic mechanism allowing potato cultivation in northern latitudes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130307092328.htm
Wageningen University and Research Centre. "Discovery of genetic mechanism allowing potato cultivation in northern latitudes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130307092328.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) — Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) — With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) — Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) — Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins