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Potato

Overview

Crop Potato Solanum Center of origin: SAM-A

The potato is by far the most important non-cereal crop in the world, and even including the cereals, only three crops (maize, wheat and rice) are grown more than this Andean tuber.

A single medium-sized potato contains about half the daily adult requirement of vitamin C. Other staples such as rice and wheat have none. The potato is very low in fat, with just 5 percent of the fat content of wheat, and one-fourth the calories of bread. Boiled, it has more protein than maize, and nearly twice the calcium.

The potato provides one of the starkest warnings against the loss of crop diversity. In 19th century Ireland a devastating potato disease – potato blight – wiped out the potato crop and resulted in the deaths of more than a million people and the emigration of a similar number. The country had been reliant on one variety of one crop for its staple food, and that variety of potato had no resistance to the disease: there was no significant genetic diversity in the crop to provide protection. This grim story still serves as a reminder of the danger of genetic erosion and the need to maintain as much variety as possible in our staple crops.

Conserving forever in genebanks

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CIP

Number of varieties available to the public
19.4% 1,318
Data available in genesys
18.5% 1,261
Safety duplicated
26.3% 1,792

Breakdown of genebanks conserving Potato

  • CIP 6,809 / 100%

The Crop Trust has supported 6 projects for Potato

  1. Argentina: The Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) received support from the Crop Trust to regenerate, characterize and safety duplicate 301 potato accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crop.
  2. Chile: The Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias in Chile works with partners in the LatinPapa Network, in particular the International Potato Center (CIP) and the Instituto Nacional Autónomo de Investigaciones Agropecuarias in Ecuador, and received support from the Crop Trust to make and evaluate reciprocal crosses between the highland and lowland potato genepools, which have complementary adaptive and resistance traits, in order to develop breeding lines with increased frequency of desirable genes for use in developing early maturity cultivars with improved resistance to major diseases, and which are better suited to climate change and market forces.
  3. Ecuador: The Instituto Nacional Autónomo de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIAP) received support from the Crop Trust to regenerate and characterize 898 potato accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops.
  4. Ecuador: The Instituto Nacional Autónomo de Investigaciones Agropecuarias worked with partners in the LatinPapa Network, in particular the International Potato Center (CIP) and the Instituto Nacional Autónomo de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, to make and evaluate reciprocal crosses between the highland and lowland potato genepools, which have complementary adaptive and resistance traits, in order to develop breeding lines with increased frequency of desirable genes for use in developing early maturity cultivars with improved resistance to major diseases, and which are better suited to climate change and market forces.
  5. Peru: The International Potato Center (CIP) worked with partners in the LatinPapa Network, in particular Ecuador (INIAP) and Chile (INIA) to make and evaluate reciprocal crosses between the highland and lowland potato genepools, which have complementary adaptive and resistance traits, in order to develop breeding lines with increased frequency of desirable genes for use in developing early maturity cultivars with improved resistance to major diseases, and which are better suited to climate change and market forces.
  6. Russia: The N.I. Vavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry received support from the Crop Trust to regenerate 380 potato accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops. All accessions are safety duplicated in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.