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What Is the Origin of the European Potato? Evidence from Canary Island Landraces

Ríos, Domingo, Ghislain, Marc, Rodríguez, Flor, Spooner, David M.
Crop science 2007 v.47 no.3 pp. 1271
Solanum tuberosum, potatoes, center of origin, provenance, geographical variation, landraces, microsatellite repeats, chloroplast DNA, genetic markers, DNA fingerprinting, cultivars, hybrids, germplasm, agricultural history, Europe, Canary Islands, South America
The modern cultivated potato (L.) was first recorded in Europe in the Canary Islands in 1567, but its origin has long been in dispute. Two competing hypotheses have proposed an “Andean” area (somewhere from the Andean uplands from Venezuela to northern Argentina) or a lowland south-central “Chilean” area, but the Andean origin hypothesis is today generally accepted. The identity of extant Canary Island potato landraces as exclusively of upland Andean origin is one part of a multicomponent argument that the European potato originated from there, rather than from Chile. We reassess these two competing hypotheses with nuclear microsatellite and chloroplast DNA analyses of 19 Canary Island landraces, 14 Andean landraces, 11 Chilean landraces, and two wild potato species as outgroups, and with chloroplast DNA data of 150 landraces from South America. Our molecular results document a wide variation of Andean- and Chilean-type cultivars on the Canary Islands and possible hybrids of the two. Our new data, integrated with historical, molecular, agronomic, and crossing data, support a hypothesis that there were multiple introductions of Andean and Chilean germplasm to the Canary Islands and that the early European potato was selected from Chilean introductions long before the late blight epiphytotics of the 1840s.