Process

The Hybrid Breeding Process for Potatoes

The potato is, after maize, wheat and rice, one of the most important food crops in the world. Potatoes are nutritious, healthy and require relatively little water.

Global annual production is around 380 million, and in the coming years we can only expect this to increase. Potatoes are becoming increasingly important, thanks to their environmentally friendly characteristics. In order to meet the demand for foodstuffs, it’s important to develop qualitatively high quality potatoes. This means that the varieties of potato we select must be future-proof.

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A Revolution in the World of the Potato

Our emphasis remains primarily on Research & Development. Aardevo knows that innovation is the key to future-proof crops.

Hybrid Breeding

It’s fairly obvious that the hybrid breeding of diploid potatoes is no simple process, but it’s actually fairly simple to explain.

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True Potato Seed

Our ultimate aim is to produce true potato seeds from these diploid potatoes, seeds that can be more efficiently exported across the globe.

What is hybrid breeding?

It’s fairly obvious that the hybrid breeding of diploid potatoes is no simple process, but it’s actually fairly simple to explain. Potatoes usually have four different copies of their chromosomes, meaning that it’s very difficult to determine which of the qualities get reproduced during the breeding process. The number of possibilities is simply too large.

The solution to this problem seems to essentially be in the existing diploid potatoes, that is, potatoes with two sets of chromosomes. Homozygous diploid potatoes are produced through inbreeding. This tends to mean that the genetic characteristics are only present in one variant. The homozygous diploid potato is then crossbred, giving the offspring the qualities of its parents. In many cases, this potato is better and stronger than its individual parents.

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The advantages of hybrid breeding

Hybrid breeding is a method that has been applied to many crops for decades to crops such as maize and sugar beet. The reason for this is actually really straightforward: generally speaking, the offspring is better and more resistant than its parents. This method also ensures that new varieties can be cultivated relatively quickly. This enables, for example, quicker processing as the climate changes or if a new disease breaks out. In other words, this means the same result can be achieved regardless of the change in background circumstances.

Unique in the world

Regardless of how far hybrid breeding has come, the hybrid breeding of potatoes is still in its development phase. Across the world, there are only two companies actively focusing solely on this subject. Both of these parties are located in the Netherlands, and not by chance. The Netherlands just happens to meet all the requirements for this kind of cultivation and development. Our country doesn’t just have the right kind of knowledge structure but also has the space to grow potatoes. For this you need fertile ground and experienced growers, and these are two things we have in spades. To maintain a competitive position in the world, innovation is essential. The future of the agricultural sector may well lie in the export of knowledge rather than in the export of products.