Understanding the tuber life cycle
Cultivated potato (Solanum tuberosum) has a relatively short life span of between 70 and 150 days from planting to maturity. Its developmental stages are often described in terms of tuber sprouting, vegetative development, tuber initiation, tuber bulking, and finally plant senescence. The tubers then enter a period of dormancy before the next vegetative generation. Each of these processes are genetically controlled and under the influence of environmental factors such as daylength, temperature and drought stress.
Using a bi-parental diploid mapping population, we used a combined genetic and molecular approach to study the key genes and processes involved in tuberization. Identified candidate genes are then tested in a model transgenic system for proof of function and plant phenotype. Using this information, we are then able to identify genotypes with naturally occurring beneficial alleles which can be assessed using both controlled environment and natural field grown conditions.