Biotech Updates

Chinese Scientists Discover Universal Key to Solve Self-Incompatibility of Potatoes

January 19, 2022

Potatoes, the third most important staple food crop in the world consumed by approximately 1.3 billion people, are mostly tetraploids, carrying four copies of chromosome sets, which complicates breeding efforts to introduce new traits. Diploid potatoes, however, are self-incompatible with the problem of inbreeding depression.

Researchers from the Agricultural Genomics Institute at Shenzhen, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (AGIS, CAAS) worked on developing a hybrid potato breeding system for years. Converting the potato from a tuber-propagated tetraploid crop into a seed-propagated diploid crop through crossing inbred lines is crucial to address challenges associated with global food security.

Dr. Huang Sanwen's lab at AGIS, with Yunnan Normal University, discovered a self-compatible diploid potato, RH89-039-16 (RH), which can efficiently induce a mating transition from self-incompatibility to self-compatibility. The scientists identified a non-S-locus F-box (NSF) gene in RH that is identical to the Sli gene (S-locus inhibitor) and capable of interacting with multiple allelic variants of S-RNases, functioning as a general S-locus inhibitor to introduce SC to both RH and other self-incompatible lines. The discovery of Sli offers a new and effective path for the development of hybrid diploid potatoes.

For more details, read the news article on the CAAS website.