The USDA-CSREES NE1031 project entitled “Development of New Potato Clones for Improved Pest Resistance, Marketability, and Sustainability in the East” is a project that addresses the needs of the potato industry of the eastern United States through a coordinated process of potato breeding, selection, evaluation, and variety development. Potato breeding and germplasm improvement in this project are conducted by four potato breeding programs (University of Maine, Cornell University, North Carolina State University, and USDA-Agricultural Research Service-Beltsville, MD). Early generation multisite selection, subsequent advanced clone evaluations, and variety trialing are then coordinated across eight eastern states, with collaborative research efforts extending to trial cooperators across the United States and into eastern Canada. The overall goal of the project is to develop an array of attractive, nutritious, high-yielding, disease- and insect-resistant potato varieties that can be employed by small and large potato producers to enhance marketing opportunities, farm sustainability, and grower profits.
Breeding, selection, and development of adapted, chipping, French fry, specialty-type, and fresh market varieties are emphasized in this project. Selection procedures for processing lines emphasize high dry matter, acceptable fry color, and freedom from internal defects. Fresh market selection and evaluation emphasize excellent appearance, sensory, and nutritional qualities. Development of varieties with durable, multiple resistances to important pathogens and pests, such as late blight (Phytophthora infestans), verticillium wilt (Verticillium dahliae), early blight (Alternaria solani), common scab (Streptomyces spp.), Fusarium dry rot (Fusarium spp.), golden nematode (Heterodera rostochiensis), and colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) resistance are long-term priorities.
The NE1031 project is highly collaborative and takes advantage of the multiple potato breeding and variety development programs located in the eastern United States. The project has established a mechanism for sharing and exchanging germplasm and research results between eight participating states and two Canadian provinces. To facilitate easy access of key information, we have developed a web-based, user-friendly potato variety database to facilitate data management and access for the NE1031 project and the entire potato research community. This variety database site was designed primarily with the interests and needs of the potato research community in mind, but it can be accessed easily by farmers, seed brokers, and home gardeners interested in obtaining timely information on regional potato performance. The primary goal when constructing the database was to condense and distill the many variety trials that the NE1031 project conducts into a format that was standardized for key data, such as total and marketable yield, tuber appearance, plant maturity, and specific gravity. However, it was also designed to store unique data collected by specialized members of the group, such as disease and insect resistance and cooking qualities. Currently, the database comprises 35 data fields reporting the performance of <144 different advanced clones and varieties in multiple trials. Several other potato databases exist worldwide (Table 1). None in North America currently house as much information on released and advanced clones in a single website where the end user has control of the data points in the output as does the NE1031 Potato Database. The database server is located at the North Carolina State University (NCSU), Vernon G. James Research and Extension Center (VGJREC) in Plymouth, NC, and can be accessed at the Eastern Potato Variety Development Database page (Clough, 2009) or by doing a web search on NE1031 potato variety database. The objective of this article is to inform readers of the existence and utility of this resource, and to demonstrate how easily such a resource can be developed.
A partial list of examples of cultivated and experimental potato variety databases worldwide.