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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » Vegetable Crops Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #372512

Research Project: Management of Genetic Resources and Associated Information in the U. S. Potato Genebank

Location: Vegetable Crops Research

Title: A “mega population” of the wild potato species Solanum fendleri

item Bamberg, John
item DEL RIO, ALFONSO - University Of Wisconsin
item FERNANDEZ, CHARLES - Us Potato Genebank
item BAMBERG, INGRID - Us Potato Genebank

Submitted to: American Journal of Potato Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/9/2020
Publication Date: 8/24/2020
Citation: Bamberg, J.B., Del Rio, A.H., Fernandez, C.J., Bamberg, I.E. 2020. A “mega population” of the wild potato species Solanum fendleri. American Journal of Potato Research. 1-3 (2020).

Interpretive Summary: Genebanks keep crop relatives so breeders have a convenient source of genetic materials with which to improve the crop. Of course, a genebank is something like a zoo that only has representative samples of the greater pool of diversity in the wild. Obviously, if we want to maximize how representative and useful the genebank sample of a given species is, we need to understand the plants growing in the wild too. We compared hundreds of samples of a single potato species native to the four-corners states of the USA. One very large population appears to contain a high proportion of the genetic diversity of the whole set. This single population is near Tucson and so has the added benefit of being readily accessible for future study and collection.

Technical Abstract: Genebanks aim to maximize the preservation, classification, evaluation and distribution of germplasm in their collections to researchers and breeders. But the wild is the source of most of the diversity available to genebanks, so diversity in the wild and how to best capture it also deserves study. The ultimate in valuable information from the wild would be the discovery of a large robust population at a single location on public land that is very easy to visit and contains a large proportion of the total genetic diversity detected in the species, which we have termed a “MegaPop”. We here report such a population of the wild potato species Solanum fendleri in the USA (also known as S. stoloniferum) on Mount Lemmon at the top of the Santa Catalina mountains near Tucson, Arizona.