Potato foundation story

You may remember a post a few weeks back on the origins of potato late blight. Now comes news of a DNA study which looked at the origin of the European potato itself.

The spud was introduced into Europe via the Canary Islands in the mid-16th century. The authors of the study compared landraces currently grown in the Canaries, which are thought to be the descendents of those early introductions, with material from Chile and the Andes. There has long been controversy about whether European varieties trace their origins to one or the other of these places.

It turns out the answer is probably both: there were

“multiple early introductions of both Andean and Chilean germplasm to the Canary Islands and to Europe,” said Dr. David Spooner, co-author of the Crop Science study.

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