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Research Project: Enhancing Solanum Microdontum Germplasm Deployment by Combining Physiological and Genetic Tools

Location: Vegetable Crops Research

2011 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
This project will combine physiological and genetic expertise and infrastructure to create a rational core collection and dataset for Solanum microdontum. This species, although wild, is remarkable for its broad expression for economically important tuber traits and ease of introgression into cultivars. The goal is to characterize for physiological tuber traits, and assess the patterns of phenotypes and genetics and the interaction of the two. This will allow for the more efficient management of this species in the genebank, and its deployment for cultivar breeding.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Grow all populations in the genebank to produce replicate sets of tubers. Assess for the physiological traits. Assess genetic variation patterns by AFLP and/or other markers. Perform statistical analysis of link between physiological traits and genetics clusters. Thus, identify and validate core collection and identify specific markers for germplasm screening. Preserve outstanding germplasm, facilitate use by ploidy manipulation, and advertise to germplasm users.

3. Progress Report
Using the Wild Potato Species S. microdontum, good progress was made this year in detecting traits with breeding value in this close relative of potato. Seventeen new samples of this species from foreign potato genebanks were imported into the United States. Tuber samples of over 90 populations were generated to produce freeze dried samples for testing in Sturgeon Bay and Madison, Wisconsin. It was shown that tubers of some individuals in this species do not turn green when stored under lights, and that this trait is maintained over the life cycle of the potato plant. Hybrids were successfully produced that will be useful for determining the inheritance of this trait. Hybrids were also made between all available microdontum and a cultivated potato stock, now making it possible to study the nutritional contributions of microdontum in the background of large tubers produced in field conditions. Using this wild species in breeding could have a great impact on society by reducing pesticide use and improving nutritional quality of potato. The pattern of useful traits found among these populations also provides insights into how to best preserve them in the genebank. The progress of the project was monitored by email and phone contacts at least once per week.

4. Accomplishments