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Solynta's revolutionary hybrid breeding technology protects potato from late blight by multi-resistance
In some of these plots there are only dead plants, in others the plants have been affected by late blight (Phytophthora infestans) to a greater or lesser extent, but there are also fields with only perfectly healthy potatoes.
The latter are the result of the latest crosses by the Wageningen company, Solynta. The breeders have succeeded, thanks to their revolutionary hybrid breeding technique, in making potato plants insusceptible to the dreaded potato disease.
A new way of potato breeding
Potatoes are generally clone-bred and grown vegetatively. A seed-potato is put in the ground, which produces some ten new potatoes. One of the disadvantages of this system is that the parent plant transmits diseases to the offspring. Also, making the crop resistant is a long process.
Solynta has therefore selected a whole new approach: the company developed hybrid breeding with elite parent-lines, which allow propagation with true seeds.
Resistancy to Phytophthora is good for the environment
As a result, the breeders were able to cross-breed multiple resistance genes against Phytophthora infestans into the potato plant within a two-year period. The perfectly healthy potato plants in the test field have two resistance genes, whereas those with a single resistance gene exhibit minor signs of infection.
Solynta was able to cross-breed multiple resistance genes against Phytophthora infestans into the potato plant within a two-year period. The potato plants in the test field with two resistance genes are perfectly healthy
Up to now, farmers have only had one option to save their crop when the plants become infected: spraying heavily and frequently with a chemical pesticide.
Rapid introduction of better potato varieties
Resistance to Phytophthora is just one example of the breakthroughs made possible by hybrid potatoes from true seed. This new breeding technique for potatoes makes it possible to rapidly introduce better varieties. Not only with natural protection against diseases, but also with improved taste, suitable for organic farming methods, or with an increased nutritional value.
Comparing one of the Solynta Hybrids with Bintje, the traditional potato variety in the Netherlands for potato processing
In addition, potato seeds can thus be distributed quickly and easily around the whole world. One bag of 25 grams of true-seed replaces 2,500 kilos of seed-potatoes.
Support from the European Union
The European Union has co-financed this demonstration with a prestigious Horizon 2020 funding grant. The EU wants to promote the innovative power of companies and research institutes with the Horizon 2020 programme.
Previously, Solynta was named a National Icon by the Ministry of Economic Affairs as a ground-breaking, innovative company which helps to create economic wealth while solving major social problems.