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Chinese and German scientists have completely deciphered the potato genome

04.03.2022 175 просмотров

This helped scientists unravel the evolutionary history of this root crop and identify key DNA regions associated with growth and disease resistance.


Researchers in China and Germany have for the first time completely deciphered the potato genome, helping them unravel the evolutionary history of the root crop and isolate key DNA regions associated with growth and disease resistance. This was announced on Thursday by the press service of the German Institute for Plant Breeding (IPZ).

"Deciphering the potato genome will allow us to launch highly effective breeding programs for this root crop, which will allow us to create new varieties with high yields and at the same time resistant to global warming, which will become critical in the coming decades," said IPZ Professor Korbinian Schneeberger, quoted by the press service of the university.

Many fungal and bacterial diseases interfere with the cultivation of potatoes, and also various invertebrate pests such as the Colorado potato beetle and hookworms. Scientists and breeders are trying to fight them by creating new varieties of conventional and genetically modified potatoes, only a small part of which is used in agriculture, since this root crop is difficult to select.

Professor Korbinian Schneeberger and his colleagues came up with a potential solution to this problem in a massive project aimed at completely sequencing the potato genome. In the past, scientists have already tried to obtain this information, but this was hindered by the extremely complex structure of the potato genome - it consists of four identical sets of chromosomes containing a large number of repeats.
Decoded potato genome

New technologies for DNA sequencing and algorithms for analyzing genetic information helped German and Chinese geneticists solve this problem for the Otava variety common in Europe. To decipher the genome of this variety of potato, scientists collected a large number of grains of its pollen, whose genetic material contains only two, not four copies of chromosomes.

This approach greatly simplified the task, but at the same time it required deciphering a very large number DNA fragments and their subsequent combination using computer algorithms. Ultimately, the scientists obtained a virtual copy of the complete potato genome, which consists of approximately 3.1 billion genetic "letters" - nucleotides and contains over 38 thousand genes.

Subsequent analysis of their structure revealed a complex evolutionary history potatoes. In particular, scientists have found that this root crop has relatively recently experienced a doubling of the genome as a result of inbreeding. In addition, scientists have uncovered unusual differences in the level of activity of copies of the same genes located on different chromosomes, potentially affecting the efficiency of crossing different potato varieties.

The scientists hope that this information will help develop new varieties of this root crop or modify its genome in such a way that potatoes will grow faster, better resist late blight and other diseases, and will also be less susceptible to drought and high air temperatures.

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