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UK Research and Innovations (2017)

The quikgro potato ; an early maturing multiple stress tolerant potato crop for sub-Saharan Africa

Quikgro Potato Stress Tolerant

Titre : The quikgro potato ; an early maturing multiple stress tolerant potato crop for sub-Saharan Africa

Pays/Région : sub Saharan Africa (SSA) such as Kenya and Malawi

Durée : juin 17 - avr. 20

Référence projet : BB/P022553/1
Catégorie : Research Grant

Potato is a most important staple food and cash crop contributing both to food security and the local economy in countries of sub Saharan Africa (SSA) such as Kenya and Malawi. It is grown mainly by small holder farmers in the highland regions (>1500 m asl) since tuber development requires cool temperatures. Demand for potatoes is growing and the major challenge is to develop local varieties adapted to agronomic and environmental conditions found at lower altitudes to expand the production areas. Key to our proposal is to combine stress tolerance (biotic and abiotic) with the development of early maturing cvs (EMCs) (reaching full maturity in 60-70 days "the Quikgro potato" compared with over 100 days for most commercial varieties). We expect that EMCs will produce tubers that bulk quickly in warmer environments, mitigating the effect of short rainy seasons and droughts. EMCs will also be less susceptible to disease (due to a phenomenon called mature plant resistance ; MPR) and the shorter growth cycle would allow potato to fit in rotation with other crops such as rice and wheat. Thus this innovation would have multiple benefits for the people of SSA.

Breeding potatoes to obtain germplasm with improved stress tolerances has proved very difficult as potato is tetraploid (it has 4 sets of each chromosome) and exhibits complex inheritance patterns making it a very long term process to achieve improvements in such genetically complex traits. Our approach is to avoid stresses by developing potato varieties that mature early (within 70 days) as our preliminary data indicates that this trait is controlled by a few dominant genes making it a more amenable breeding target.

Advances in understanding the control of tuber formation in potato have defined some of the components of day length signalling that lead to tuberisation such as the discovery of an additional version of the gene (StSP6A) that is associated with tuber formation under long days. Additionally, in transgenic tester lines, silencing of a gene encoding CEN1/TERMINAL FLOWER1, significantly decreases the time to both tuber and flower initiation. Thus the presence of a particular allelic variant impacts on the timing of tuber initiation providing a novel breeding strategy to develop early maturing potatoes. In further work (funded by ERA CAPS Hotsol BB/M004899/1) we have identified a gene that (designated StHot1) that confers extreme heat tolerance when tested in model systems.

Lead Research Organisation : University of St Andrews

Financement : Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Budget  : £388 275

UK Research and Innovations

Page publiée le 13 septembre 2022