Wisconsin's potato growers have helped create a new professorship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison which is expected to lead to promising advances in potato breeding.
DNA sequencing and other biotechnology have helped speed plant breeding in many food crops. But the potato is a different story. It has an extra set of chromosomes and applying the methods have been more difficult.
That led to the hiring of Jeff Endelman, a plant breeder with expertise in statistical genetics. While working at Cornell University, Endelman helped launch pilot projects for genomic selection in wheat, corn and cassava. Endelman will join UW-Madison's horticulture department July 1 to lead the potato breeding program.
He will use historical crop data with DNA marker information to predict the likely success of potential new potato varieties before they are tested in the field.