Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 12:20pm to 1:10pm
My career in plant breeding started at Cornell and led me to the perfect playground for potato. Inter-disciplinary, cross-cultural, visionary, pioneering and practical people and results are some of the traits of put Cornell’s potato program, breeding and genetics on my map. In the Andes where my work is based, early domesticators secured potato and hold and trade its rich diversity as a gift. Breeding a crop in its center of origin and diversity is a dream come true. The capacity of agriculture to support the world’s growing populations has been a great concern for generations and is a matter of debate on political and science agendas alike. Many experts have expressed their concerns about the ability of agriculture to conform to food demands, while others predict that technological advances or expansion of the cultivated area could propel productivity enough to meet the rising needs. But at what cost and for whom? The equitable and sustainable use of genetic resources will determine which of these scenarios prevails. CIP's research promotes the full potential of potato to contribute to the livelihoods of the poor in the developing world. Our initiatives range from ex-situ and in-situ conservation to breeding, crop and systems management, pest/disease control, partnerships and improving linkages in value chains. We base our breeding on the use of broad genetic resources and concentrate on disease resistance, heat and drought tolerance, and more recently, biofortification or the increase of micronutrient density of potatoes and users’ choice. In the Roots. Tubers and Bananas Program we adopt and apply methods, tools and approaches across potato, sweetpotato,cassava, yam, banana and minor root and tuber crops toward more effective breeding schemes that deliver genetic gains in farmers’ fields. Strategic use of multiple environments, shuttle breeding, rapid phenotyping and pilot tests of genomic selection promise to accelerate multi-trait selection and diversity to meet food demands and cope with climate change.