The European Union Common Catalogue (EUCC) for potato contains over 1,000 varieties. Each year member states add varieties to the list after they have undergone Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) testing according to international guidelines. Identification of cultivars by morphological characteristics is a highly skilled and time-consuming task. For these reasons a rapid and robust method for variety identification to aid the management and maintenance of existing variety collections and for the screening of new candidate varieties would therefore be a highly useful tool for DUS testing stations. SASA has developed a rapid and robust identification system using 12 microsatellite markers.
Microsatellite profiles for 3 varieties with marker SSR1.
Over 1,300 varieties have been analysed using the system and virtually all varieties can clearly be differentiated by their unique molecular profiles. The only exceptions are somaclonal variants e.g. King Edward and Red King Edward.
Differentiation of some popular potato varieties grown in Scotland (scale % similarity).
The fingerprinting method is fast with only 1 to 2 days required and any part of the plant can be used for identification. It is also possible to type some food products (e.g. potato crisps). SASA now offers DNA fingerprinting of potato varieties as a service. For information contact Helen Ventisei (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Alex Reid (Alex.Reid@sasa.gsi.gov.uk).