Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Develop Late Blight Resistant Potato

November 2, 2017

Technology has become the blight of the Irish potato famine pathogen. A research team led by Professor Jonathan Jones at The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich Research Park has successfully modified a potato to resist the devastating disease ‘late blight' by introducing a blight-resistant gene from a wild potato to the popular Maris Piper.

Blight is a serious problem globally, and was a significant contributor to the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s. "The first year of the Maris Piper field trial has worked brilliantly", said Professor Jones. "We've observed resistance to late blight in all the lines.

This new blight-resistant gene introduced to the Maris Piper offers the promise of furthering its crop strength, and even the possibility of avoiding the use of chemical fungicides in its cultivation altogether. Field trials at Norwich are continuing, and next year the team will begin to explore the genetic traits that can improve tuber quality. The team hopes to produce a crop that is less prone to bruise damage and help improve the quality and sustainability of potato crop in the UK.

For more details, read the news article at the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council website.