The potato is one of the top staple foods in the world and is the most important non-grain crop for human consumption. Consumption is expanding in developing countries, which now account for more than half of the global harvest and where the potato’s ease of cultivation and high energy content have made it a valuable cash crop for millions of farmers.
The scientists said the project ‘holds great promise for speeding up the traditionally time-consuming process of developing new varieties’. It currently takes up to 12 years to breed a new variety of potato.
The scientists claimed the breakthrough would help to ensure future food security through improving potato yield, quality and nutritional value, and resistance to pests and diseases.