Location: Vegetable Crops Research
Project Number: 3655-21000-049-00-D
Project Type: Appropriated
Start Date: Mar 20, 2008
End Date: Mar 19, 2013
Objective 1: Develop adapted potato clones with enhanced resistance to major potato diseases. Sub-objective 1.A. Characterize the molecular genetic basis for late blight (Phytophthora infestans) resistance in the diploid potato species Solanum bulbocastanum. Sub-objective 1.B. Identify resistance genes/factors present within late blight resistant accessions of the diploid wild potato species Solanum verrucosum. Sub-objective 1.C. Develop adapted potato germplasm with high levels of resistance to the fungal pathogen Verticillium dahliae and determine the genetic basis of resistance. Sub-objective 1.D. Identify sources of resistance to early blight (Alternaria solani), common scab (Streptomyces scabies), and soft rot (Erwinia spp., aka Pectobacterium spp.), and introgress them into S. tuberosum. Objective 2: Evaluate exotic potato germplasm for flavor and nutritional components, and introgress valuable genes into the cultivated potato. Sub-objective 2.A. Identify major components of flavor in potatoes and determine the range of variation for those traits in exotic potato germplasm. Relate biochemical variability to sensory analysis data. Sub-objective 2.B. Assess the genetic variability in wild Solanum species for nutritional quality traits including starch composition, antioxidant capacity, and vitamin and mineral levels. Where valuable variation exists, determine the genetic basis of the trait and begin studies to introgress useful genes into the cultivated potato. Objective 3: Examine exotic potato germplasm for resistance to low temperature sweetening and introgress valuable genes into the cultivated potato. Objective 4: Characterize molecular, physiological and environmental parameters that are determinants of potato quality, especially seed vigor and tuber processing quality. Sub-objective 4.A. Characterize molecular and physiological changes that occur in potato tubers that cause, or are tightly linked to, the accumulation of reducing sugars. Sub-objective 4.B. Determine the genetic and physiological basis of tuber vigor across storage times and environments. Sub-objective 4.C. Characterize water relations and respiration of stored potato tubers and determine the range of variation for these parameters in wild and cultivated potatoes.
This project focuses on utilizing wild potato germplasm as a source of genes for traits important to potato improvement, such as disease resistance, flavor, nutritional quality, and low temperature sweetening. We will identify novel resistance to major potato diseases in wild relatives of the potato and introgress that germplasm into the cultivated potato. We will also use molecular genetics to characterize resistance mechanisms in wild species and hybrids with the cultivated potato (Objective 1). In addition, we will screen wild and cultivated potato relatives for flavor and nutritional quality traits, and introgress genes for these traits into the cultivated potato. In parallel, we will determine the biochemical components that can be manipulated to improve flavor and nutrition (Objective 2). We will carry out genetic studies to determine the genetic basis of cold sweetening in wild and cultivated potatoes at the diploid level, and introgress selected germplasm into the cultivated potato (Objective 3). In addition, we will carry out studies to determine the physiological basis of tuber vigor and tuber processing quality (Objective 4). Together, the completion of these objectives will lead to the development of potato cultivars that contain increased genetic diversity, require less management and are highly marketable, leading to increased revenue for the U.S. potato industry.