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Scientists from Solynta and Wageningen University & Research (WUR) have published the most complete genome sequence for potatoes to date. A unique aspect is that both sequence and plant material are made available for research (under specific conditions). This may in the future result in a potato that is more resistant to heat or drought or has a greater resistance to diseases.
The potato is one of the most important food crops worldwide. Improvements to its traits can therefore have a major impact. Reading the genome structure of the potato is extremely tricky, however, as a regular potato consists of four genomes, which makes it difficult to determine the position of the genes. The recent research applied a diploid real potato plant with only one genome, a so-called homozygote, which makes it easier to read and compare the DNA base sequence. This plant, Solyntus, was produced as part of Solynta’s hybrid potato breeding programme.
The genome sequence is available via https://www.plantbreeding.wur.nl/Solyntus.
From 125,000 to 185 segments
Richard Visser, professor at the department of Plant Breeding at WUR, is enthusiastic about the new sequence: “The previously available genome sequence, which I also helped establish, consisted of approximately 125,000 small segments. The genome we are presenting now comprises 185 large segments. This is a significant improvement which was achieved via a combination of unique plant material and new sequencing and analysis techniques. While the previous sequence involved a wild variety of the potato, we have now used an actual potato plant. I hope – and expect – that our work will eventually lead to a more efficient and faster potato breeding process.”
Solynta’s R&D director Pim Lindhout is also pleased with the collaboration: “This concrete result of a public-private partnership proves that we can describe and new properties faster together. Two years ago, we showed that we could make a potato plant that is disease-resistant within two years. This latest breakthrough means we can also explore and utilise other traits more quickly. I am convinced that this will lead to more sustainable potato production far sooner.”
Faster and more focused breeding
Various research projects within WUR use both the plant and the sequence, enabling scientists to link experimental results to the genetic code. The very accurate genome sequence allows faster and more focused breeding, as it is easier to find in the DNA which cross-breeds with other varieties might be of interest, and where the exchange of genetic material between ‘father’ and ‘mother’ should ideally take place. This means scientists know at an early stage whether the potato has the desired traits, such as resistance to specific diseases.
The research was partly financed by PepsiCo, contributing to a more sustainable food chain.
SolyntusTM is a trademark that results from Solynta’s hybrid potato breeding programme.
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Die Nachfrage nachKartoffeln steigt weltweit, zugleich beeinträchtigt der
Klimawandel denAnbau. Panzenzüchter arbeiten an neuen
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Today, Solynta has announced that it has appointed Charles Miller as its Commercial Director.
Charles brings over 20 years’ experience in leadership roles in the seed industry to Solynta. Before joining Solynta, Charles was with Chromatin Inc. where he led the company’s international business development and sales as Vice President. He was a principal in the sorghum company MMR Genetics/Richardson Seeds, and after its acquisition by NuFarm, became the Global Development Manager for NuFarm’s sorghum business. Prior to that, he worked for Mars, Inc. for several years, where he gained deep experience in trading, logistics, and treasuries.
Next to his roles within Industry, Miller is also serving on the Board of Directors of American Seed Trade Association as well as Chairman of the Innovation and Policy Committee. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors of the African Seed Trade Association.
“Charles’ vision for innovation and agriculture development, combined with the global network he has established, will tremendously augment our business,” said Hein Kruyt CEO of Solynta. “Charles will lead the global business development strategy and commercial network and we look forward to the lasting impact he and his team will have on the company.”
“Solynta has developed leading edge technology in hybrid potato breeding. This technology has been proven and will increase the speed at which new traits can be brought to the market”, said Miller. “Potato is a staple food crop throughout the world. With Solynta’s technology we can bring adapted hybrid potatoes not only to the high-tech agricultural markets, but we can also help the developing world with sustainable and high-quality products. I am proud to be part of this energetic and innovative team.”
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please click link to replay Major News bulletin of Netherlands Public Broadcast Foundation of August 21, 2017, 2000hrs