Submitted to: Proceedings Wisconsin Annual Potato Meetings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 21, 2011
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Citation: Jansky, S.H., Halterman, D.A., Jiang, J. 2011. Biotech Potatoes: Are We Prepared for the Future. Proceedings Wisconsin Annual Potato Meetings. 24:165-168.
Since the introduction of the first genetically modified (GM)/biotech crops in the mid-1990s, the agriculture industry has seen a steady increase in the acreage of biotech crops planted and harvested each year. In 2009, a record 14 million farmers in 25 countries planted 330 million acres of biotech soybean, maize, cotton, canola, zucchini squash, papaya, alfalfa, poplar, sugar beet, tomato, and sweet pepper. This represents an 80-fold increase in usage between 1996 and 2009. This increase is largely due to the economic, environmental, and productivity benefits derived from the use of biotech crops. The development and utilization of biotech potatoes involves some biological hurdles. It can be argued that potato is the crop that can benefit most by biotechnology. Breeding progress is slow because cultivars are tetraploid and genetic variability in existing cultivars is low. Potato is easy to transform, genes are available from wild species, and gene flow is not an issue. Since disease and storage losses are significant in the potato crop and control is expensive and not always effective, significant productivity gains could be realized through the use of biotech cultivars.