Crop Biotech Update

Indian Scientists Develop Protein Rich GM Potato

September 24, 2010

The recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reports the development of a  genetically modified potato rich in protein by a team of scientists led by Dr. Subhra Chakraborty of the National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR) in close collaboration with the Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI) of India. The genetically modified potato is named "Protato" which contains 60% increase in total protein content developed by introducing AmA1 gene (Amaranth Albumin 1) from edible amaranth plant into seven commercial varieties of potatoes.

The GM potato plants were tested at three locations in India and the trial results demonstrated greater harvest and moderate increase in tuber yield. Data on field performance and safety evaluation indicates that the transgenic potatoes are suitable for commercial cultivation and have no negative effects on animal health. In addition, the concentrations of several essential amino acids were increased significantly in transgenic tubers which are otherwise limited in potato, resulted in a significant increase in yield and enhanced nutrition.

The article also reported that the expression of AmA1 has potential for the nutritional improvement of other food crops. A copy of full article "Next-generation protein-rich potato expressing the seed protein gene AmA1 is a result of proteome rebalancing in transgenic tuber" is available at http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/09/13/1006265107.full.pdf+html Supporting information on safety and efficacy of the protein rich GM potato is available at http://www.pnas.org/content/suppl/2010/09/14/1006265107.DCSupplemental/pnas.201006265SI.pdf For more information about biotech development in India contact b.choudhary@cgiar.org and k.gaur@cgiar.org