Crop Biotech Update

Wageningen, CIP and Cornell Team up to Fight Phytophthora

October 23, 2009

Netherlands-based Wageningen UR has signed an agreement with the American Cornell University and the International Potato Center (CIP) in Peru to develop potato varieties with durable resistance against the dreaded late blight disease. Caused by the fungal pathogen, Phytophthora infestans, the disease costs potato growers some USD 5 billion annually.

The organizations will work together under the DuRPH project (durable resistance against Phytophthora through cisgenic marker-free modification), funded by the Dutch government and started in 2006. One of the focal points of the agreement is making the results available for countries whose food supply depends mainly on their potato cultivation, especially those in East Africa and East Asia.

"This initiative is completely in line with the Dutch agriculture ministry's goal to use the results of our research and our technologies for stacking genes to benefit developing countries," said Anton Haverkort, DURPH project leader. The new joint international project also aims to design a cultivation system that includes so-called resistance management.

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