Accelerating disease resistance breeding for diploid potato germplasm improvement


Pests and diseases reduce crop yields, requiring agrichemical sprays. We aim to replace agrichemicals with genetic resistance for pest and disease control. This project involves novel approaches ( to understand and deploy potato diversity for disease resistance using newly-available self-compatible diploid potato lines.

Tetraploid potato lines carry useful variation for pest and disease resistance, but genetic analysis in tetraploids is difficult. Using appropriate crosses, the student will use diploid genetics to define, breed to diploids, and clone potato leaf roll virus (PLRV) and nematode resistance genes, and will use genome editing to accelerate breeding such genes into useful diploids and improve potato traits. We will also use CRISPR/Cas9 editing for diploid potato improvement. We work closely with CIP (Peru) and James Hutton Institute, Dundee on virus and nematode resistance and potato molecular genetics.

This is a Case partnership with who develop F1 hybrid potato diploid varieties. The student will learn skills in genetics, molecular biology, disease resistance, tissue culture, DNA sequence capture and assembly (RenSeq) and associated bioinformatics, GoldenGate cloning, and genome editing using CrispR/Cas9. Applicants should have a strong interest in plant genetics and genetic diversity, in plant disease resistance and in modern crop improvement.

Velasquez (2007)
Witek (2016)
Chen (2018)
Tomlinson (2018)
Taylor (2018)
Lindhout (2016)