Potato Grower

January 2018

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88 POTATO GROWER | JANUARY 2018 Diggin' In Diggin' In Diggin' In Diggin' In Diggin' In Diggin' In GENETIC ENGINEERING| Industry Report Early success for GM late blight resistance trial in UK Engineered Resistance A genetically improved potato designed to have resistance to a devastating global plant disease has successfully come through the first year of field trials. The field trial conducted by The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) in the United Kingdom involves incorporating late blight-resistant genes from a wild potato relative into a cultivated Maris Piper potato (a popular variety in Europe). "The first year of the Maris Piper field trial has worked brilliantly," says TSL's Jonathan Jones. "We've observed resistance to late blight in all the lines." Late blight in potatoes is a global challenge, a devastating crop disease that can wipe out whole fields of potato plants. At present, crops all over the world must have multiple treatments with fungicide to combat the pathogen and ensure a good harvest. Jonathan Jones and members of his team inspect the Maris Piper fi eld trial last summer. A clear difference is seen between the resistant plants, which look healthy (right), and the heavily blight-affected, non-resistant plants (left).

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