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Potato growers to get insight into how genome will help them

James Hutton

The future of potato breeding and how the mapping of the potato genome will help growers is set to be the focus of discussion at Potatoes in Practice this Thursday (11 August).

The event, Britains biggest field event for the potato industry, is being hosted by The James Hutton Institute at Balruddery Farm near Dundee.

Scientists at The James Hutton Institute played a key role in the potato genome project, leading the UK strand of the work as part of the international Potato Genome Sequencing Consortium.

The work, published in the journal Nature last month, holds great promise for speeding up the process of developing new potato varieties, which at the moment can take 10-12 years using traditional methods.

Dr Glenn Bryan, who led the potato genome work at JHI said, Mapping the potato genome means we can now start to identify genes that are responsible for certain traits, for example disease resistance or drought tolerance. We can then use that information to help introduce desirable traits into new varieties of potato.

JHI potato breeder, Dr Finlay Dale, said the genome project had direct implications and future benefits for growers. The availability of the genome will help bring new and better varieties to the market as well as considerably speeding up the breeding process.

Improvements to breeding varieties will be evident through the more rapid and more reliable identification of the important genes and also the more efficient identification of superior parental lines than previously possible.

Potatoes in Practice provides a unique opportunity to meet a wide range of growers and industry representatives face to face to help outline the potential benefits of the genome work.

More than 700 growers, advisors, overseas visitors and industry representatives attended last years Potatoes in Practice and it is anticipated this years event, the first hosted by The James Hutton Institute since its formation in April, will be even bigger.

Potatoes in Practice is hosted by The James Hutton Institute and sponsored by the Potato Council. It features trials and demonstrations from The James Hutton Institute, SAC, Masstock Arable (UK) Ltd. (formerly CSC Potato Care) and the potato industry.
The event runs from 9.30am 4.30pm on Thursday 11 August 2011, attendance is free and you can register on the day. Venue: Balruddery Farm, by Fowlis DD2 5LJ.
The James Hutton Institute has research centres in Dundee and Aberdeen. It was formed earlier this year by the coming together of the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute and SCRI, the Scottish Crop Research Institute. It employs about 600 scientists, researchers and support staff and is one of the biggest food, land and environment research centres in Europe. The James Hutton Institutes registered office is in Dundee.

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