Two professors at the University of Maine in Orono are working on breeding new potato varieties. Professor of crop ecology and management in the School of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Greg Porter, and assistant professor of plant genetics with the School of Biology and Ecology Dr. Han Tan are researching how to make more varieties using a new, DNA-based tool.
The new DNA-based tool will hopefully help develop new potato varieties quicker. Progress could be made in five to six years, half the time currently needed. The goal of the project is to generate DNA-based marker data and combine their normal data from the field, apply that information using computer-based models, and do predictions on what the best parent plants are to speed the development of new potato varieties.
Potatonewstoday.com reports that, over the course of the project, the researchers will analyze 600 potato varieties.