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Reintroduction of genetically engineered potatoes into the U.S. market.
C. ROMMENS (1). (1) J. R. Simplot Company, Boise, ID, U.S.A.

The spread in the production of potatoes from small regions in the Andean highlands to almost 50 million acres worldwide coincided with, and enabled, in part, the unprecedented population growth and urbanization of the 18th and 19th century. However, issues in traditional plant breeding have hampered efforts to meet evolving needs for agricultural sustainability, and currently available varieties lack many of the agronomically important traits needed to control farm input costs. Shifting consumer preferences, from high calorie diets to foods that are rich in phytonutrients, represent additional issues and have lead to a decline in the consumption of potato in the United States. The easiest and fastest way of adapting existing varieties to the needs of the 21st century is offered by genetic engineering. Currently available input traits provide resistance against some of the most important pathogens, pests, and herbicides, as well as black spot bruise. Additional quality traits enhance the antioxidant power of potato while lowering their toxin-forming potential. In many cases, it is possible to improve varieties by transforming them with native DNA only. Surveys indicate that consumers prefer such intragenic approaches over conventional transgenic methods that introduce foreign DNA into the food supply. Several genetically modified potato varieties are currently being evaluated for commercial production. With improvements in biotechnology quality management and identity preservation systems, reintroduction of the first genetically engineered varieties is expected to occur in the next few years.<p><p>Keywords:

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