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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Vegetable Crops Research

Title: Selfing Potato Species Produce Robust Spontaneous Field Seed Increases Under Floating Mesh

item Bamberg, John
item Del Rio, Alfonso

Submitted to: Potato Association of America Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2009
Publication Date: 3/1/2010
Citation: Bamberg, J.B., Del Rio, A.H. 2010. Selfing Potato Species Produce Robust Spontaneous Field Seed Increases Under Floating Mesh [abstract]. Potato Association of America Proceedings. 87:113.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Performing genebank propagation of botanical seed populations of wild potato species is typically done by hand pollinations in the greenhouse. This prevents intermixing of the populations by bumblebees and avoids the need for emasculation. Field plantings require less inputs and often have vigorous growth, flowering, and many spontaneous berries. But field seed increase requires emasculation, separation by distance, or bee-proof screen for isolation of each population. About ¼ of the 5,000 populations in the U.S. Potato Genebank are self-compatible inbreds that might self spontaneously. We grew 10 seedlings of each of 34 such populations (from three species) in the field under a continuous 8-foot wide translucent polypropylene fabric mesh (Gardens Alive, 5100 Schenley Place, Lawrenceburg, IN), sealed on the edges with soil to exclude bees. All sprays and irrigation were applied through the mesh. Nothing was done to induce pollination, but the mesh flapping over the plants on windy days was likely helpful. In the fall, spontaneous berries were harvested and seeds extracted. Seed yields per population varied by species: acaule = 69,000, demissum = 26,000, stoloniferum = 4,000. Germination and seedling vigor was high. RAPD comparison of offspring with parents was done and confirmed that no cross pollination between populations under the mesh had occurred. We conclude that seed increase of selfing potato species can be efficiently accomplished in the field, allowing more genebank resources to be directed toward outcrossing species that require hand pollination in the greenhouse.

Last Modified: 06/23/2017
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