The Potato Pre-breeding Project

Sustainable use of potato crop wild relatives (CWR) and development of a pre-breeding core collection with key climate change-related traits


The potato pre-breeding work of the Project is being carried out by the International Potato Center (CIP), Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology and the National Institute of Agricultural Research of Uruguay’s (INIA Uruguay) Potato Breeding Programs. CIP, also known as the Centro Internacional de la Papa, is a center of the CGIAR consortium based in Lima, Peru that focuses on the potato, sweet potato, and other roots and tubers. INIA, based in Montevideo, is Uruguay’s national agricultural research institution.

The objective of the Project’s potato pre-breeding work is to develop pre-bred genepools introducing novel genes from the wild, with a focus on climate change adaptation traits like heat and drought tolerance as well as genes providing resistance to late blight (Phytophthora infestans) and bacterial wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum). Pre-bred material will be introduced into elite genetic backgrounds already possessing other valuable traits such as virus resistance, early tuberization and broad adaptation. The work will result in one pre-bred genepool combining heat tolerance and bacterial wilt resistance, and another combining heat and/or drought tolerance with late blight resistance. Selected products of the work will be evaluated through farmer-participatory trials.

The practical work of introducing the novel wild genetic materials into elite potato cultivar lines will use a number of advanced breeding techniques to detect and circumvent reproductive barriers, and will also result in the development of a manual providing detailed information on how to use state-of-the-art crossing techniques to successfully introgress genetic material from potato wild relatives in breeding efforts.

For more information, please visit the project website.

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