Encouraging results of early trials in East Africa

The potential of hybrid potato for East-Africa

experimental trial field in DR Congo

Potato is an important staple crop in East Africa. Most of the seed tubers are propagated in informal systems, whereby the tubers become deteriorated and contaminated, resulting in low crop yields. Potato breeding has not resulted in significantly improved varieties that overcome these constraints. Recently, true potato hybrid breeding technology has been developed, whereby diploid hybrids are generated by crossing between homozygous inbred parent lines. The first series of experimental hybrids were pre-screened in The Netherlands and ten representative hybrids were tested in East-Africa, whereby the yield of the best hybrid was 29 ton/ha. These results show the great potential of hybrid potato for East Africa.

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Call for action from North America’s leading Potato Researchers

(in Crop Science 56:1-11 | 2016) Abstract The third most important food crop worldwide, potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is a […]

Towards F1 Hybrid Seed Potato Breeding

Proof of Principle reached, Hybrid Breeding finally unlocking Potato full Potential

Potato Research 54:301-312, December 2011

Compared to other major food crops, progress in potato yield as the result of breeding efforts is very slow. Genetic gains cannot be fixed in potato due to obligatory out-breeding. Overcoming inbreeding depression using diploid self-compatible clones should enable to replace the current method of out-breeding and clonal propagation into an F1 hybrid system with true seeds. This idea is not new, but has long been considered unrealistic. Severe inbreeding depression and self-incompatibility in diploid germplasm have hitherto blocked the development of inbred lines. Back-crossing with a homozygous progenitor with the Sli gene which inhibits gametophytic self-incompatibility gave self-compatible offspring from elite material from our diploid breeding programme. We demonstrate that homozygous fixation of donor alleles is possible, with simultaneous improvement of tuber shape and tuber size grading of the recipient inbred line. These results provide proof of principle for F1 hybrid potato breeding. The technical and economic perspectives are unprecedented as these will enable the development of new products with combinations of useful traits for all stakeholders in the potato chain. In addition, the hybrid’s seeds are produced by crossings, rendering the production and voluminous transport of potato seed tubers redundant as it can be replaced by direct sowing or the use of healthy mini-tubers, raised in greenhouses. Read more