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USDA Researchers Create Insect-Resistant Potato Variety

September 19, 2011: 09:10 AM EST
Scientists at the USDA have developed a wireworm-resistant potato variety from two wild potatoes that may reduce or eliminate the need for wireworm insecticides. To do this, they crossed germplasm from wild potatoes from Chile and Bolivia with a cultivated variety, then selected 15 plants that best-resisted Colorado potato beetles and green peach aphids from three generations of progeny. They planted them in wireworm-infested fields and compared the damage they sustained with that seen in nearby rows of Russet Burbank potatoes, some of which had been treated with organophosphate- and carbamate-based insecticides. The resistant cloned potatoes fared just as well or better than the insecticide-treated Russet Burbank potatoes. The researchers believe natural compounds called glycoalkaloids may protect the cloned potatoes.
Jan Suszkiw, "Scientists Develop New Potato Lines to Wage War on Wireworms", News release, USDA, September 19, 2011, © USDA
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