China-led research team breeds first-generation hybrid potatoes via genome design
BEIJING, June 27 (Xinhua) -- A research team led by Professor Huang Sanwen with the Agricultural Genomics Institute at Shenzhen, under the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, has devised a genome design plan for hybrid potatoes and published their findings in the journal Cell on June 24.
Potatoes are a staple food for some 1.3 billion people worldwide. However, unlike other cereal crops, most cultivated potatoes are autotetraploids and the complexity of tetrasomic inheritance is the key factor hampering the genetic improvement of cultivated potatoes.
The potato industry is facing a number of challenges including a low clonal propagation rate and major disease susceptibility, as well as high costs and a high carbon footprint from pest control, storage and shipment.
Huang's team, in collaboration with Yunnan Normal University and several organizations, initiated the Upotato Plan, which utilized the theory and methods of genome design to carry out hybrid potato breeding, re-inventing the potato from a clonally propagated tetraploid crop into an inbred line-based diploid crop, propagated by seeds.
The team developed the first generation of highly homozygous inbred lines and F1 hybrids, which exhibited strong heterosis in growth vigor and yield in the greenhouse.
The estimated tuber yield of these F1 hybrids in the first plot trial is 40 tons per hectare, indicating a huge yield potential. In addition, the hybrid potatoes are rich in dry matter and nutrient value.
The genome design of the first generation of inbred potato lines with high homozygosity enables the exploitation of heterosis in this tuber crop, and transforms the process of potato breeding from a slow, non-accumulative mode into a fast iterative mode, according to the research team. Enditem[ Editor: SRQ ]