Cultivated Sweetpotato Germplasm Collection

Sweetpotato is the seventh most important food crop, in terms of production, in the world. Sweetpotato is grown mainly in developing countries with 80% of the world’s production coming from Asia, about 15% in Africa, and only 5% from the rest of the world. Sweetpotatoes rank as one of the healthiest vegetables, because of high levels of Vitamins A and C, iron, potassium, and fiber and contains thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2) and pantothenic acid. Beta carotene is the most abundant pigment (provitamin A) in orange flesh sweetpotato varieties which is important in countries where they were introduced to combat vitamin A deficiency in children (CIP scientist won the world food prize for their work with orange flesh sweetpotato). Purple fleshed sweetpotatoes are a rich source of anthocyanins, which have medicinal value as anti-oxidants and cancer preventing agents.

The International Potato Center (CIP) maintains one of the world’s largest cultivated sweetpotato genebanks with over 5,500 accessions maintained in vitro. The overall objective is to conserve the diversity in the collection and make it available to the global community for research, breeding, and training. 


Molecular characterization of sweetpotato

The genetic diversity maintained in the genebank is well characterized enabling better use and targeted selection and use of material by breeders, molecular biologists, taxonomists, and other germplasm users.

Currently a highly informative and user-friendly set of 20 SSR primers, which covers most of the sweetpotato genome, has been selected and is used to fingerprint accessions, assess diversity and aid in phylogenetic studies.

These SSR fingerprints provide a molecular ID for the accessions for in house quality management as well as for scientific investigations. One example of their use in genebank management has been the confirmation of identity of the in vitro collection by comparison of SSR fingerprints with material maintained from the originally collected samples.

Molecular fingerprint of sweetpotato using SSRs. The band pattern corresponds to SSR locus IBS11.

DArTseq markers

High-density marker genotyping has also been done for the cultivated sweetpotato collection using DArTseq. Presently over 50,000 markers per accession are being scored and used to study the diversity in the collection.

Dendogram showing relatedness based on country of origin of sweetpotato (I. batatas) based on DArTseq markers.

Collaboration with La Buena Esperanza school

Combat malnutrition and childhood anemia through consumption of sweetpotato.



A taxonomic monograph of Ipomoea integrated across phylogenetic scales

Taxonomic monographs have the potential to make a unique contribution to the understanding of global biodiversity. However, such studies, now rare, are often considered too daunting to undertake within a realistic time frame, especially as the world’s collections have doubled in size in recent times.
By : admingenebank | Jul 9, 2020

Identification and Control of Latent Bacteria in in vitro Cultures of Sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam]

Bacterial microorganisms which are latent in in vitro cultures can limit the efficiency of in vitro methods for the conservation of genetic resources. In this study we screened 2,373 accessions from the in vitro sweetpotato germplasm collection of the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru for bacteria associated with plantlets in tissue culture through a combination of morphological methods and partial 16S rDNA sequencing.
By : genebankcip | Jul 6, 2020

The horizontal gene transfer of Agrobacterium T-DNAs into the series Batatas (Genus Ipomoea) genome is not confined to hexaploid sweetpotato.

The discovery of the insertion of IbT-DNA1 and IbT-DNA2 into the cultivated (hexaploid) sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] genome constitutes a clear example of an ancient event of Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT). However
By : genebankcip | Sep 17, 2019

Related Links


Genoveva Rossel
 Sweetpotato Curator