Submitted to: Euphytica
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/23/2009
Publication Date: 7/1/2010
Citation: Zhang, L., Brown, C.R., Culley, D., Baker, B.J., Kunibe, E., Denny, H., Smith, C., Ward, N., Beavert, T., Coburn, J., Pavek, J.J., Dauenhauer, N., Dauenhauer, R. 2010. Inferred origin of several Native American potatoes from the Pacific Northwest using SSR markers. Euphytica. 174:15-29.
Interpretive Summary: The origins of crop plants have cultural, health and botanical value. Potatoes grown by certain Native Americans of the Olympic Peninsula of Washignton State and Native Alaskans appear to have been received by direct diffusion from Latin America duirng the time of the Spanish Empire. Genetic markers helped to distinguish these potatoes and determine that a probably origin was from Chile originally and New Spain (Mexico) directly. Evidence exists for the commixture of Andean and Chilean type potatoes in Mexico. The Four Native potatoes examined were definitively not of Central Andean origin, while closely related to Chilean and Mexican cultivars. Evidence exists of the existence, trade value, and active cultivation of potato in the Native Northwest and Southeast Native Alaskan societies. Historians, narrators, and naturalists mentioned the potato in gardens 220 years ago. Contact with Spanish explorers occurred a number of times. Permanent and semi permanent settements were established in close contact with Natives which included gardens. During the Russian administration of Alaska, Haida Natives were contracted to grow potatoes for the Russian seal and otter fur fleets. The persistence of these potato genotypes suggests characteristics of resistance or tolerance to biotic and abiotic factors that would be interesting to assess for possible utilization in modern cultivar development.
Technical Abstract: Certain Native Americans from the Pacific Northwest and Alaska of the USA have grown potatoes in their gardens for many generations. However, the origin of these potatoes was unclear. In this study, the origin of several potatoes collected from Native gardens, including two potatoes, “Ozette” (from Makah Nation) and ToLeAk (from Quillayutes), and two potatoes, Kasaan and Maria’s grown by Native Alaskans, was investigated. Fourteen SSR markers covering the 12 potato homologs yielding a total of 199 alleles were amplified and scored in Solanum tuberosum Group Andigena (52 accessions), S. tuberosum Group. Tuberosum (39 accessions) and wild species (6 accessions). Within the tuberosum group, nineteenth century varieties, modern varieties, and Chilean cultivated potatoes were included. There are several possible routes for these potatoes to have arrived to this area of the world. Direct transfer from Mexico or South America is one possibility. The phylogenetic analysis showed that Group Andigena was separated from Group Tuberosum, with some exceptions. The wild species formed a well-defined outgroup. “Ozette” from the Makah Nation on Olympic Peninsula in Washington State was closely related to “Maria’s” and “Kasaan” potatoes collected from Native Alaskan gardens in Juneau and Kasaan in Southeast Alaska. These three potatoes, “Ozette”, “Maria’s” and “Kasaan,” were more closely related to either two Mexican and one Peruvian andigena accessions or three Chilean Group Tuberosum accessions, while being relatively less related to the old European or modern varieties and most distantly related to Group Andigenum. To-Le-Ak was closely related to two Chilean tuberosum accessions and one old European variety. All Native potatoes harbored T-type chloroplast genome indicating that their maternal lineage is shared with Chilean Group Tuberosum. Using genetic relationship as a guide to origin it appears plausible that the Native American/Alaskan cultivars are either directly or indirectly from Mexico and Chile. The accessions from Mexico are a mixture of A and T type chloroplast genome. It is possible that Mexican accessions are partly a mixture of Groups Andigenum and Tuberosum. Given the historical record of Native vs. European contact it is likely that Spanish explorations by sea could have been the means of diffusing potato northward from a Mexican/Chilean germplasm base.