2008 - International year of the Potato.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has declared 2008 the International Year of the Potato to raise awareness of the tuber's importance in addressing global hunger, poverty, and threats to the environment. Read more from CNN.
Photo: a. Representative landraces from the Andes (from Graves C. [ed]. 2001. Potato: treasure of the Andes. International Potato Center, Lima, Peru), from Chile (courtesy of Andrés Contreras, Universidad Austral de Chile), and modern cultivars (USDA Agricultural Research Magazine image gallery).
PBI funding delivered through the Solanum project has stimulated much research into the origins and domestication of the extremely valuable potato and related species. Notably David Spooner, Mercedes Ames, Diego Fajardo and Flor Rodríguez from the USDA and the University of Wisconsin, are playing a key role in developing and carrying out this much needed research. The team from Wisconsin regularly contribute significant findings to the science community, from keynote lectures on the "Domestication and diffusion of potato" at "Potato Science for the Poor: Challenges tor the New Millenium, A Working Conference to celebrate the International Year of the Potato" held in Cuzco, Peru, to articles published in major scientific journals, such as:
- Ames, M. and D.M. Spooner. 2008. DNA from herbarium specimens settles a controversy about origins of the European potato. Amer. J. Bot. 95: 252-257 (recently featured on Solanaceae Source).
- Spooner, D.M., F. Rodríguez, Z. Polgár, H.E. Ballard Jr., and S. H. Jansky. 2008. Genomic origins of potato polyploids: GBSSI gene sequencing data. The Plant Genome, a suppl. To Crop Sci. 48(S1) S27–S36.
- Fajardo, D., R. Castillo, A. Salas, and D.M. Spooner. 2008. A morphometric study of species boundaries of the wild potato Solanum series Conicibaccata: a replicated field trial in Andean Peru. Syst. Bot. 33(1): pp. 183-192.
- Spooner, D. M., J. Núñez, G. Trujillo, M. del Rosario Herrera, F. Guzmán, and M. Ghislain. 2007. Extensive simple sequence repeat genotyping of potato landraces supports a major reevaluation of their gene pool structure and classification. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 104: 19398-19403.