According to an article on news.cornell.edu, Cornell’s plant breeders and geneticists have played a significant role in the improvement of the potato, having released more than 50 varieties since 1908. Cornell researchers are now expanding their efforts to make more wild potato seeds available to potato breeders around the world.
With support from the Wallace Genetic Foundation, Cornell scientists continue their efforts in the Cornell-Eastern Europe-Mexico (CEEM) International Collaborative Project on Potato Late Blight control to facilitate the transfer of disease-resistant potato germplasm among global potato centers in the U.S., Russia, Poland, Mexico and Peru.
“By facilitating access to important potato germplasm for the global potato breeding community, we are addressing fundamental challenges of development and food security,” said K.V. Raman, associate director of International Programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and coordinator of the potato project.
Consumed by more than 1 billion people, the potato is the world’s third-most important food crop after rice and wheat. Approximately 377 million metric tons were produced globally in 2018, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.