Abstract Compared to other major food crops, progress in potato yield as the result of breeding efforts is very slow. Genetic gains cannot be fixed in potato due to obligatory out-breeding. Overcoming inbreeding depression using diploid selfcompatible clones should enable to replace the current method of out-breeding and clonal propagation into an F1 hybrid system with true seeds. This idea is not new, but has long been considered unrealistic. Severe inbreeding depression and selfincompatibility in diploid germplasm have hitherto blocked the development of inbred lines. Back-crossing with a homozygous progenitor with the Sli gene which inhibits gametophytic self-incompatibility gave self-compatible offspring from elite material from our diploid breeding programme. We demonstrate that homozygous fixation of donor alleles is possible, with simultaneous improvement of tuber shape and tuber size grading of the recipient inbred line. These results provide proof of principle for F1 hybrid potato breeding. The technical and economic perspectives are unprecedented as these will enable the development of new products with combinations of useful traits for all stakeholders in the potato chain. In addition, the hybrid’s seeds are produced by crossings, rendering the production and voluminous transport of potato seed tubers redundant as it can be replaced by direct sowing or the use of healthy mini-tubers, raised in greenhouses.
The start of Hispob
The potato is excellently positioned to play a very important role in turning the high demand for resource-efficient and sustainable food production world-wide into an opportunity. The potato is the world’s number one non-grain food commodity, with an annual production reaching 374B kilo. The main current varieties of potato are in cultivation for many years due to the genetic complexity of the potato and inefficient breeding process. Breakthrough in potato breeding will enlarge the potential of potato as a food, feed and industrial crop. Solynta has developed a revolutionary breakthrough in potato breeding by establishing HIgh Speed POtato Breeding (HISPOB).