Feed the Future Biotechnology Potato Partnership: Late Blight Resistant Potatoes for Bangladesh and Indonesia: 2021 Update
The Feed the Future Biotechnology Potato Partnership (BPP) is an agreement between Michigan State University (MSU) and USAID to develop and bring to market a 3R-gene late blight resistant (3R-LBR) potato in farmer-preferred varieties in Indonesia and Bangladesh. The project is a collaboration between USAID, MSU, University of Minnesota, University of Idaho, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, Indonesian Center for Agricultural Biotechnology Genetic Resources Research and Development, Indonesia Vegetable Research Institute, and the J.R. Simplot Company, to produce and steward the 3R-LBR potato for distribution and commercialization to smallholder farmers. Diamant, a farmer-preferred variety for Bangladesh, and Granola, the preferred variety in Indonesia, were transformed with a 3R-LBR gene construct. Transgenic events were selected after preliminary molecular analysis, which included intact T-DNA insertion, single copy, no large backbone segments and pathology analysis. Indonesia experiences very high late blight pressure yearly, making it an ideal location for field testing resistant varieties. The best 2 Diamant events, in both field performance and molecular analysis, were imported into Indonesia in 2020 for field testing. Late in 2020, a second trial was completed with importation of Granola events. Advanced molecular analysis of the events was conducted throughout 2020 and we have selected 5 Granola events along with the 2 Diamant events to continue further testing. In January 2021, we imported 2 Diamant events into Bangladesh for a government required greenhouse contained trial in the Spring of 2021. Once completed we will be able to conduct confined field testing beginning in 2021 in Bangladesh. A key accomplishment from the start of the project has been the building of capacity of in-country project partners for trial conduct, data collection, and regulatory compliance. Our project continues to build a network with biotech advocacy organizations, the private sector, government entities as well as collaborating with other agriculture biotechnology projects.