International Potato Center Scientific Achievements of 2014

Genetic Resources and Genebanks

  • A comprehensive gap analysis of the wild relatives of potato (Solanum sect. petota) was completed. The study involved the largest species occurrence database of its kind for any crop wild relative (49,164 records for 73 species) and cooperation among multiple institutions, including CIP, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the University of Wisconsin and University of Birmingham. It was supported by the Global Crop Diversity Trust and the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB).

  • Gaps were identified in global ex situ collections, as 43.8% of the species analyzed received a high priority status for gap filling. The study also revealed that four species currently have no active germplasm accessions available in any global collection: S. ayacuchense (PER), S. neovavilovii (BOL), S. olmosense (PER) and S. salasianum (PER).

  • The study highlights priorities for gap filling and identifies where future collections and/or conservation efforts should be targeted.
  • Spooner, D.M.; Ghislain, M.; Simon, R.; Jansky, H.; Gavrilenko, T. 2014. Systematics, diversity, genetics, and evolution of wild and cultivated potatoes. The Botanical Review. 80(4):283-383.

  • An international safety back-up of the cultivated potato collection with Embrapa in Brasilia, Brazil began in November 2014.

Crop Improvement

  • The first demonstration that changing self-incompatibility to self-compatibility using the S locus inhibitor (Sli) gene overcomes inter-specific reproductive barriers for wide crossing in potato was presented at the 11th Solanaceae Conference, held in Bahia, Brazil in Nov. 2014.

Ordoñez, B.; Mihovilovich, E.; Bonierbale, M. 2014. Altering self-incompatibility using Sli overcomes reproductive barriers between cultivated diploid potato and wild species of Piurana Series. Conference Paper Presented at The 11th Solanaceae Conference SOL, 2-6 Nov, 2014. Bahia, Brazil. Book of Abstracts. Brazil, EMBRAPA Genetic Resources and Biotechnology. pp. 90

  • Evidence indicates that a transgenic potato containing the triple R gene stack is extremely resistant to late blight in greenhouse assays, which alludes to highly promising field resistance and durability.

Mwathi, M.; Roman, M.L.; Orbegozo, J.; Rivera, C.; Forbes, G.; Ghislain, M. 2012. Genetic transformation of potato with a triple R gene construct to confer resistance to late blight. In: Okechukwu, R.U. Adebowale, A.A. Bodunde, H. Eruvbetine, D. Idowu, M. Atanda, O. Dipeolu, A. Ayinde, A.I. Obadina, A.O. Sobukola, O.P. Adebayo, K. Sanni, L.O. (eds.). The roots (and tubers) of development and climate change: Book of Abstracts, conference programme. 16. Triennial Symposium of the International Society for Tropical Root Crops (ISTRC). Abeokuta (Nigeria). 23-28 Sep 2012. Abeokuta (Nigeria). p. 259.

  • Ex post analysis of gene flow from a commercial potato variety to native potato landraces in the potato’s center of origin and diversity illustrates the extremely low frequency of such events.

Ghislain, M.; Montenegro, J.D.; Juarez, H.; Herrera, M.R. 2014. Ex-post analysis of landraces sympatric to a commercial variety in the center of origin of the potato failed to detect gene flow. Transgenic Research. Published online 29 Nov 2014. 10 p.

  • CIP published a second edition of the Orange-fleshed Sweetpotato for Africa catalogue. The sixty varieties in this catalog reflect CIP’s enhanced breeding efforts “in Africa for Africa,” in collaboration with 11 Sub-Saharan Africa countries. In two of those countries, Uganda and Rwanda, articles were published with more detail on the trials leading to varietal release. In addition, an article was published identifying the best dual-purpose (food and feed) sweetpotato varieties for Rwanda.

Tumwegamire, S., R.O.M. Mwanga, M.I. Andrade, J.W. Low, G.N. Ssemakula, S.M. Laurie, F.P. Chipungu, J. Ndirigue, S. Agili, L. Karanja, M. Chiona, J.C. Njoku, K. Mtunda, J. Ricardo, K. Adofo, E. Carey and W.J. Grüneberg. 2014. Orange-fleshed sweetpotato for Africa. Catalogue 2014 (Second Edition). International Potato Center (CIP), Lima, Peru. 74p.
Shumbusha, D., J. Ndirigwe, L. Kankundiye, A. Musabyemungu, D. Gahakwa, P.S. Ndayemeye and R.O.M. Mwanga. 2014. ‘RW11-17’, ‘RW11-1860’, ‘RW11-2419’, ‘RW11-2560’, ‘RW11-2910’, and ‘RW11-4923’ Sweetpotato. HortScience 49(10): 1-4. (
Niringiye C.S., G.N. Ssemakula, J. Namakula, C.B. Kigozi, A. Alajo, I. Mpembe and R.O.M. Mwanga. 2014. Evaluation of promising orange fleshed sweetpotato genotypes in different agroecological zones of Uganda. International Journal of Agriculture and Crop Sciences. 7 (13):1312-1321. (
Lukuyu, B. A., Kinyua, J., Agili, S., Gachuiri, C. K. & Low, J. 2014. Evaluation of Sweetpotato Varieties for the Potential of Dual-Purpose in Different Agroecological Zones of Kenya. In: Vanlauwe, B., Vann Asten, P. & Blomme, G. (eds.) Challenges and Opportunities for Agricultural Intensification of the Humid Highland Systems of Sub-Saharan Africa. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Crop and Systems Research

  • A study found evidence that small sequencing and assembly (sRSA) from in-vitro plants is equivalent to standard indexing for viruses in potato. This provides the possibility of replacing standard indexing with sRSA, which is much faster and would speed up germplasm cleanup & exchange.

Kreuze, J. 2014. siRNA Deep Sequencing and Assembly: Piecing Together Viral Infections. IN: Gullino, M.L.; Bonants, P.J.M. (eds.). Detection and Diagnostics of Plant Pathogens. Dordrecht (Netherlands). Springer. pp. 21-38. DOI 10.1007/978-94-017-9020-8_2

  • A non-linear climate downscaling tool based on a multi fractal cascade able to generate climatic data at less than one km resolution from general/regional climate models (30-50 km) was created. This level of resolution is critical for assessing the impact of climate extremes and climate change on agriculture and natural resources through process-based models.
  • A framework for analyzing seed interventions was designed and the first results of seed degeneration trials were collected. This is providing evidence of the need for a new paradigm for managing seed degeneration in vegetatively propagated crops that doesn’t rely solely on certified seed.
  • A study was conducted in six districts of Uganda concerning sweetpotato pest knowledge and practice. For effective pest management technology adoption, it is essential to understand current farmer knowledge of what the critical pests are and what practices they are using to control them.

Okonya, J.S., R.O.M. Mwanga, K. Syndikus, and J. Kroschel. 2014. Insect pests of sweetpotato in Uganda: farmers’ perceptions of their importance and control practices, SpringerPlus 3(1):303. (doi:10.1186/2193-1801-3-303). (

Value Chain

  • As part of efforts to promote the development of commercially viable, orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) processed products, a consumer acceptability assessment of the product Golden Power Biscuit, in which 43% of wheat flour is replaced with OFSP puree, was conducted in urban markets in Rwanda.

Okello, J.J. K. Sindi, and J.W. Low. 2014. Consumer perceptions and demand for biofortified sweetpotato-based biscuit: The case of Akarabo Golden Power Biscuit in Rwanda. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, 14, 8941-8955.

Capacity Strengthening

  • A major three-year effort to develop and test learning-by-doing training materials for a ten-day trainer of trainers course held in Nigeria (in English), Tanzania (in Kiswahili) and Mozambique (in Portuguese) came to fruition with the publication of the 7 volume manual entitled Everything you ever wanted to know about sweetpotato.

Stathers, T., J. Low, R. Mwanga, T. Carey, S. David, R. Gibson, S. Namanda, M. McEwan, M. Bechoff, A. Malinga, M. Benjamin, H. Katcher, J. Blakenship, M. Andrade, S. Agili, J. Njoku, K. Sindi, G. Mulongo, S. Tumwegamire, A. Njoku, E. Abidin, and A. Mbabu. 2013. Everything you ever wanted to know about sweetpotato: Reaching Agents of change ToT Manual. International Potato Center, Nairobi, Kenya.7 vols. x, 390p.

  • A review of the use of innovation platforms as vehicles for disseminating sweetpotato technologies and practices provided important lessons for scaling-up new technologies through partnerships and capacity strengthening in Africa.
    Kimenye, L and McEwan, M (eds). 2014. Scaling up, Dissemination and Adoption of Agricultural Technologies using Innovation Platforms – Lessons from Eastern and Central Africa. ASARECA, Entebbe. ISBN:978-9970484058

Kimenye, L and McEwan, M (eds). 2014. Scaling up, Dissemination and Adoption of Agricultural Technologies using Innovation Platforms – Lessons from Eastern and Central Africa. ASARECA, Entebbe. ISBN:978-9970484058