Solanaceae Source

A global taxonomic resource for the nightshade family

Dr David Spooner

Dr David Spooner's picture
Other/given name(s) : 
Family name: 
University of Wisconsin
United States
Field work participant: 
Project participation: 
Principal investigators
Project role: 

To provide taxonomic and phylogenetic information on members of the Potato clade, including the tuber-bearing Solanum species, the tomatoes, and their relatives. Several graduate students, including students from Latin America, will receive training here in potato systematics. Liason with agricultural and germplasm contacts and initiatives.


I am a Research Botanist with the Vegetable Crops Research Unit, Midwest Area, at Madison, WI, with appointment as Professor, Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin-Madison. My responsibilities are divided as 60% research on potato systematics, and 40% service to the U.S. Germplasm System to plan and conduct wild potato collecting expeditions. I conduct research on the taxonomy of potatoes (Solanum sect. Petota) and relatives in tomatoes (Solanum sect. Lycopersicon) and other Solanum utilizing classical taxonomic procedures and molecular taxonomic methods. My objectives for the next 4-5 years include efforts to 1) determine the phylogenetic relationships within Solanum sect. Petota using biparentally-inherited molecular markers (to compliment prior work using chloroplast DNA), investigate of hypotheses of hybridization, 3) more accurately define species and subspecies boundaries and interrelationships, and 4) study comparative genome differences in potatoes and search for linkages with potato late blight resistance. Objectives 1-3 are generously funded by the NSF PBI grant in collaboration with Lynn Bohs (University of Utah), Sandra Knapp (The Natural History Museum, London), and Michael Nee (The New York Botanical Garden). This grant is funding Mercedes Ames Sevillano, Alejandrina Soledad Alaria, and Diego Alberto Fajardo. Objective 4 is funded by the USDA National Research Initiative, and is conducted in collaboration with Meredith Bonierbale at the International Potato Center.

Collaborators include Iris Peralta from CONICET (National Scientific and Technological Research Council of Argentina) and the National University of Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina; Glen Bryan from the Scottish Crop Research from Dundee, Scotland; Willy Roca, Meredith Bonierbale, Marc Ghislain, and Alberto Salas from the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru; Ronald van den Berg and Wilbert Hetterscheid from the Department of Plant Sciences, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands; Stephen Tanksley and Feinan Wu, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York; Robert Hijmans from the University of California, Davis; and Tatjana Gavrilenko from the Biotechnology Laboratory, Vavilov Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith