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Nov 17, 2009

Scotland - SCRI Predicts In the Future, No Spray GM Potatoes

The Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI) has isssued a press release that its director Professor Peter Gregory predicts in the future, potatoes will no longer require pesticide or herbicide sprays. 

 Dr. Gregory projected that in 10 to 15 years a ‘no-spray’ potato could be developed using" ALL of the technologies available to us. The potato is the ideal crop because we already know quite a number of the genes in wild relatives that are capable of controlling the diseases in cultivated potatoes.”  He adds that this should be a project that SCRI focuses on.

The SCRI notes that "[t]he potato is one of the most heavily sprayed crops. A typical annual crop will require a dozen sprayings to protect from blight and in addition insecticides, nematicides and herbicides."

SCRI is currently involved in conventional crop breeding for the commercial sector. It has eight major potato breeding contracts.  It also works on soft fruit and barley breeding.

SCRI was also "pioneering the use of genetic markers which were being used increasingly in conventional breeding work. This process involves identifying genes or groups of genes that control resistance to diseases, or other useful attributes such as drought resistance, and finding means of identifying a marker to indicate if those useful genes were present in a plant during conventional breeding."

For more see: "No spray potato predicted." SCRI, News, Scotland, 17 Nov. 2009.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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