Small Genetic Element Identified as Key to Potato Industry's Production Problem

Researchers have discovered a game changer for the potato industry.

According to a new study published in a leading international society journal published by the American Society of Plant Biologists, a small genetic element is the cause of a major production problem in potatoes.

"Our manuscript reveals the mystery of "cold-induced sweetening" (CIS), the most troublesome and expensive problem for the potato processing industry," explained Jiming Jiang, Corresponding Author of "Molecular dissection of an intronic enhancer governing cold-induced expression of the vacuolar invertase gene in potato" published February 20 in The Plant Cell. "Interestingly, it is controlled by a 200-bp sequence hidden in an intron of the potato vacuolar invertase gene."

Potatoes, one of the most widely consumed and produced food crops worldwide, are typically stored for many months after the harvesting season. Farmers use cold temperatures to mitigate diseases, sprouting and softening.

However, another physiological process occurs when potatoes are exposed to cold. Cold temperatures encourage tubers to turn starch into sugar. When those potatoes are removed from storage and fried, accumulated sugars cause them to produce acrylamide and turn an undesirable dark brown-black color.

In the study, Jiang and co-authors identified several DNA motifs in the 200-bp sequence that bind transcription factors involved in the plant cold stress response. The researchers found mutating these small, specific sequences significantly decreased the cold-stress response in the potatoes.

This discovery solves a long-standing agricultural problem and sets the groundwork for easily improving it with gene editing.

"I was hired as a potato breeder by the Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1995," added Jiang. "Improving the CIS trait, based on traditional breeding as well as biotech approach, was one of the top goals for the breeding program."

Journal reference:

Zhu, X., et al. (2024). Molecular dissection of an intronic enhancer governing cold-induced expression of the vacuolar invertase gene in potato. The Plant Cell.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of AZoLifeSciences.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Unlocking Brown Fat's Potential: Study Reveals Key Protein in Obesity Regulation