Spudman November/December 2022 - 34

The Potato Association of America mission statement: The PAA and
its allied associations must strongly support the private sector through
Extension, research and commercialization efforts aimed at enhancing
the role of the potato as the premier food source for the 21st century.
Next-gen potato researchers
Husain Agha
Bio: I'm a Ph.D. candidate at the
University of Minnesota, working
with Laura Shannon in the potato
breeding program. I received
my bachelor's degree in classical
humanities from the University of
Missouri in 2018.
Research: As the climate continues
to change, potato breeders will need
to release lines that can perform well
under harsh environmental conditions,
such as drought and excessive heat.
Potato varieties are also often released
for national use, making it important
for them to perform well across very
different environments. However,
early selection during breeding in
the U.S. takes place in just a single or
a few locations, making it difficult to
breed for increasingly disparate and
extreme climates.
One way to address this is to look
for regions in the potato genome
that interact with the environment
to mediate the negative effects of a
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harsh climate. These Genotype-byEnvironment
interactions (GxE) can
be selected to make varieties more
stable across the wider growing
locations. We evaluated levels of
GxE and regions of the genome
contributing to it in the National Chip
Processing Trial (NCPT).
The NCPT is a cooperative effort
among public breeders to find and
release chip varieties that perform
well at a national scale. Breeders send
their promising material to partners
in more than 10 states, spanning the
environments where potatoes are
grown in the U.S. These lines are
then evaluated for important
agronomic traits, such as yield and
starch content. These lines are also
genotyped, making them a valuable
resource for genetic studies.
In our research, we found high
levels of GxE for yield in the NCPT.
If breeders were fully leveraging GxE
in their lines, we would expect to
see those lines outperforming when
grown close to the sites where they
were initially bred. However, we
didn't find that the GxE present was
being fully utilized, with few lines
showing a " home advantage. " This
implies there is room for improvement
to breed for environmentally stable
varieties. To aid in those efforts, we
also identified regions of the genome
that were associated with precipitation
and temperature during selections.
These regions likely interact with the
environment to confer an advantage
in dry or excessively hot growing
locations. We can use those regions
identified to select lines before we
spend resources to evaluate them in
the NCPT, speeding up the process of
releasing environmentally stable lines.
Abigail Moore
Bio: I am a second-year master's
student studying crop science and plant
breeding at Oregon State University. In
2021, I graduated from Ohio University
with a B.S. in environmental and plant
biology.
Research: I am studying a soilborne
disease called powdery scab. This
disease causes scab lesions on the skin
and surface of tubers, which affects
marketability. Powdery scab also
causes galling on the roots and stolons
that reduce host nutrient uptake and
decrease yield.
I'm focusing on this disease because
limited management options exist
for potato growers. Additionally, the
pathogen responsible for powdery scab,
Spongospora subterranea, is a vector for
potato mop top virus. This virus causes
brown arcing throughout the inside flesh
of tubers, which destroys their potential
for processing into other potato
products, as well as limits their ability to
be exported.
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Spudman November/December 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Spudman November/December 2022

Spudman November/December 2022 - 1
Spudman November/December 2022 - 1A
Spudman November/December 2022 - 3
Spudman November/December 2022 - 2
Spudman November/December 2022 - 3
Spudman November/December 2022 - 4
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