An international team of scientists - led in the UK by researchers at The James Hutton Institute in Scotland - have succeeded in mapping the genome of the potato, the first major UK crop plant to be fully sequenced.
UK partners included the University of Dundee and Imperial College London.
The achievement holds great promise for speeding up the traditionally time-consuming process of developing new potato varieties. At the moment it can take 10-12 years to breed a new variety.
The research is far from complete. Analysing the genetic sequence of the plant will take several more years. At the moment it can take more than 10 years to breed an improved variety.
By locating the genes that control traits like yield, colour, starchiness and flavour, the research should make it possible to develop better spuds much more quickly.
Potatoes provide the world's fourth-largest crop, with an annual, global yield of 330m tonnes.
New types of potato could help to ensure future food security because of improved yield, quality, nutritional value, and resistance to pests and diseases.
Full details in the next edition of Potato Processing International.
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