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Biotech potatoes can bring improved performance, quality to global markets

From a scientific perspective, the potato is a pretty cool crop to work with. Cultivated potato and its wild relatives contain a lot of diversity — both above and below the ground. When growing potato collections in the greenhouse we get to see different leaf shapes, flower and tuber colors, and a variety of other features.

Genetically, however, potatoes can be a bit problematic to work with, and the process of developing new varieties with characteristics growers desire can be inefficient. There are methods to help simplify and streamline the breeding process. In the March Spudman issue, you may have read about efforts to develop potatoes into a diploid crop. New genetic tools can help streamline the process, too. Biotechnology also can help speed the introduction of new traits into already popular varieties.

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