Submitted to: American Journal of Potato Research
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2004
Publication Date: 7/1/2004
Citation: Spooner, D.M., Hetterscheid, W. 2004. Origin of the modern cultivated potato. American Journal of Potato Research. 82:90-91.
Technical Abstract: Wild potatoes are widely distributed in the Americas from the southwestern United States to southern Chile, but the first cultivated potatoes were likely selected from populations in the central Andes of Peru and Bolivia sometime between 6,000-10,000 years ago. These wild species, and thousands of primitive cultivated 'landrace' populations, persist throughout the Andes, with a second set of landrace populations in Chiloé Inland and the adjacent lowlands of the Chonos Archipelago and mainland areas of southern Chile. As determined by Hosaka (2003. Amer. J. Potato Res. 80: 21-32), the Chilean populations likely arose after those in the Andes from hybridization of Andean populations with S. tarijense in southern Bolivia or northern Argentina. Potato was first exported out of its native home in South America around 1530, with the first records from the Canary Islands. Potato rapidly became cultivated first in Europe and then around the world. It became transformed into a set of modern cultivars as a result of hybridization with other cultivated forms and wild species, selection for less knobby tubers, disease resistance, and greater yields. Current opinion invokes the earliest European introductions from Andean landraces, with the introduction of Chilean landraces only after late blight disease killed many populations in Europe in the 1840's. We partially support an earlier hypothesis by Juzepczuk and Bukasov (1929. Proceed. U.S.S.R. Congress Genet., Pl. Animal Breed. 3: 592-611) and suggest that early introductions of cultivated potatoes from both the Andes and Chile, with the Chilean landraces becoming the predominant modern breeding stock long before the 1840's.