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Potato seedling in hand

Newly Released Handbook Lists More than 4,000 Potato Pedigrees

By Tara Weaver
April 14, 1998

A new compilation of more than 4,000 pedigrees of North American and European potato varieties is available for the first time for potato breeders and industry.

Agricultural Research Service geneticist Kathleen G. Haynes collaborated with international scientists from the Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute, Mlochów Research Center in Poland; the Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands; and the Northern Ireland Horticultural and Plant Breeding Station in Loughgall, Ireland, to compile the handbook.

According to the latest statistics from USDA's Economic Research Service, the United States produces nearly 48 billion pounds of potatoes a year, making it the fourth- largest potato producer in the world. More than 620 billion pounds of potatoes are produced throughout the world annually.

The handbook gives information on the origin of the potato variety, the year of release, countries in which it is cultivated, both female and male parents (as completely as possible) and the source or list of references. Also included is information on unreleased ancestors of varieties cultivated at present.

The scientists compiled the information from potato breeders and institutions preparing parental lines for potato breeding in the United States, Europe and Russia.

In North America, the pedigree of potato varieties is computerized and is also published in the American Potato Journal. European varieties, however, are often released without publishing pedigree information. This makes it difficult for potato breeders looking for certain traits, like blight resistance from a line whose origins are unknown.

The handbook will be available in both English and Polish.

Scientific contact: Kathleen G. Haynes, USDA-ARS, Vegetable Laboratory, Beltsville, Md., phone (301) 504-7405, fax (301) 504-5555,

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