Monday, May 1, 2017

Mother Nature, Genetic Engineer -- The Sweet Potato

We broadly place potatoes into one of two categories-- sweet potatoes, and the other kind.  But what are the differences? What are the breeding priorities and opportunities?

Episode 80 of the Talking Biotech Podcast visits with Dr. Jan Kreuze from the International Potato Center (CIP) in Lima, Peru. Dr. Kreuze discusses what a sweet potato is, it's genetic origins, and why it is an example of natural genetic engineering. 

A DNA insertion event, from the same bacteria used in the lab, placed DNA into the genome in a way that changed domestication traits. In other words, humans found benefit because of the insertion. 

The episode raises important questions about what it means to be genetically engineered, relative risk, and the true need for labeling-- someone nobody is too worried about the sweet potato.