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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Spooner, David
item Salas, Alberto

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2003
Publication Date: 6/7/2006
Citation: Spooner, D.M., Salas, A. 2006. Structure, biosystematics, and genetic resources of potato. In: Gopal, J. and Khurana, S. M. P. Handbook of potato production, improvement and post-harvest management. Binghampton, NY. p. 1-39.

Interpretive Summary: Potato is an important food crop. The book for which this chapter is written is entitled "Handbook of potato production, improvement, and post-harvest management," and is focused on the practical aspects of potato agriculture. This chapter introduces the structure, taxonomy, and genetic resources (living plants in genebanks) of potato to help place later chapters in context of the biology of potato. It introduces the form of the potato, discusses the diversity of different potato species, and discusses the wild relatives of potato through the latest summary of taxonomic publications. It provides the latest species list of wild potatoes considering these publications, and discusses likely changes in potato taxonomy.

Technical Abstract: The potato is one of the world's most important food crops, and the world's most important vegetable crop. Potato produces more carbohydrate per acre per year than any other crop except sugar cane. It has a higher quality protein than any other vegetable, and only soybeans yield more protein per acre. Potato has a rich genepool of nearly 200 tuber-bearing wild species that represent a huge and only partially explored reservoir of germplasm useful for potato breeding. These wild species have known desirable traits such as resistance to heat and frost, fungi, bacteria, viruses, nematodes, mites, and insects. Most of these species are cross compatible with the cultivated potato either directly or through the use of 2n gametes. This paper provides an introduction to the structure, distribution, habitats, and use of wild and cultivated potatoes. It also discusses their collection, genetic resources, and taxonomy. Potato continues to be the focus of intense collecting and taxonomic research, and our understanding of the number of species and their interrelationships continues to change. This paper also provides the latest taxonomic summary of wild and cultivated potatoes.

Last Modified: 10/15/2017
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