Scientists unlock secrets of potato plant genome

The genetic blueprint which uncovers the secrets of the potato genome has been mapped for the first time. This is the first instance of a major crop plant in the UK being fully sequenced.

Every organism has a genome, which is like a chemical 'instruction book' or 'blueprint' for putting together all genes the organism carries.

Each gene exercises control over different aspects of growth and development of the organism with alterations in the instructions giving rise to different varieties. Each individual carries a slightly different version of the DNA sequence for the species.

According to the researchers, the discovery could "revolutionise" potato breeding and ensure future food security.

The effort was  by an international team of scientists led by the James Hutton Institute in Dundee. According to the team, the breakthrough held great promise for speeding up the process of developing new potato varieties.

Currently a new variety takes up to 10-12 years to breed.