China-led research team completes potato genome sequence

15:42, July 16, 2011      

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The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) announced Friday that a group of international scientists has finished sequencing the genetic code of the potato.

The Potato Genome Sequencing Consortium (PGSC), which is led by Chinese scientists and made up of 97 researchers from 14 countries, has sequenced the complete potato genome and published a report of its findings in the latest issue of the scientific journal Nature, said the CAAS.

The research took six years and revealed that the potato contains about 39,000 genes, said the CAAS.

Qu Dongyu, a potato farming specialist with the Crop Science Society of China and a promoter of the PGSC, said the study helped discover genes that define the growth and insect resistance of potatoes.

The sequenced genome will enable scientists to create new varieties of potato that are high in yield and quality and more resistant to insects and diseases, he said.

Huang Sanwen, a researcher with the CAAS and one of the three corresponding authors of the report, said the sequencing will also allow potato breeders to accelerate the breeding process of new seeds from 10 to 12 years to about 5 years.

China is the world's top potato grower, with its farmers planting potatoes on nearly 90 million mu (6 million hectares) of land each year. The average yield per mu stands at 1,000 kg, only one-third of that harvested by countries with advanced technologies, Qu said.

Source: Xinhua
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