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The Evolution Of Cultivated Potatoes

P. Grun
Published 2008 · Biology

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In the first stages of potato evolution in the northern Andes, diploid cultivated species of theSolanum stenotomum complex were selected, in all probability, from wild progenitors in theS. brevicaule complex. TetraploidSolanum tuberosum ssp.andigena arose by fusion of unreduced gametes of a parent in theS. stenotomum complex with those of an unidentified wild species having actinomorphic calyces. Unreduced male gametes of several diploid species fertilized eggs of ssp. andigena leading to extensive introgression.Solanum tuberosum ssp.tuberosum probably originated from a cross between ssp.andigena as staminate parent and an unidentified wild species which contributed cytoplasmic sterility factors encoded in mitochondria and/or plastids having a distinctive type of DNA. Derivatives of this hybridization, which may have occurred in northwestern Argentina, evolved to ssp. tuberosum in southern Chile and southern Argentina. In the 1570’s ssp.andigena was imported to Europe and spread from there to become a major crop with worldwide distribution. In the 1840's it was essentially eliminated by late blight,Phytophthora infestans.Solanum tuberosum ssp.tuberosum was introduced from Chile into North America and Europe in the late 1800's, and in turn achieved a worldwide distribution, filling the vacated agricultural niche of ssp.andigena. The differences between ssp.andigena and ssp.tuberosum in South America are sufficient that the two could reasonably be considered to be separate species. Since the 1960’s the two taxa have been hybridized often in breeding programs. Neotuberosum, a northern-adapted strain of ssp. andigena, has been selected to mimic ssp.tuberosum. Substitution back-cross products have been produced that have the chromosomal genes of ssp.tuberosum combined with cytoplasmic factors of Andean species. These breeding activities are blurring the distinctions between the two subspecies throughout much of the world, though they remain distinct in their native areas in South America.ResumenEn las primeras etapas de la evolutión de la papa cultivada en el norte de los Andes, las especies diploides del complejo Solanum stenotomum se originaron, probablemente, de progenitores silvestres pertenecientes al complejoS. brevicaule. Solanum tuberosum ssp.andigena se originó por fusión de gametos no reducidos de un padre proveniente del complejoS. Stenotomum con otros gametos de especies silvestres no identificadas, las cuales tienen calices actinomorfos. La introgresión de muchas especies diploides en tetraploide ssp.andigena ocurrió a traves de fertilización por el polen no reducido de especies diploides. El comienzo de la evolutión deSolanum tuberosum ssp.tuberosum surgió, probablemente del cruce entre ssp.andigena como pariente macho y otra especie silvestre no identificada la cual contribuyó con los ovulos y por lo tanto con los factores cytoplasmáticos esteriles encodados en las mitocondrias o en los plastidios con distintos tipos de ADN. Los productos de esta hibridación evolucionaron a ssp.tuberosum en el noroeste de Argentina hasta el sur de Argentina y Chile. Hacia los años 1570, la ssp.andigena fue introducida a Europa y de allí se expandió quedando plantada en todo el mundo. En los 1840 fue practicamente eliminada excepto en America del Sur por el tizón tardio(Phytophthora infestans). Solanum tuberosum ssp.tuberosum fue introducida desde Chile hacia Norte America y Europa a finales del 1800 y desde entonces se distribuyó a traves del mundo, llenando el vacío ecológico creado por la desaparición de ssp.andigena. Las diferencias entre ssp.andigena y ssp.tuberosum son tales que las dos pueden con mucha razon ser consideradas como dos especies separadas. Desde 1950 los dos taxa han sido frecuentemente hibridizados enprogramas de fitomejoramiento. Neotuberosum, una cepa de ssp.andigena adaptada a las condiciones del norte, ha sido seleccionada y hoy algunas de ellas son muy semejante a ssp.tuberosum. Tambien en el norte se han producido plantas que tienen los genes cromosómicos de ssp. tuberosum combinados con factores cytoplasmáticos de especies andinas. Estas actividades de fitomejoramiento han oscurecido en cierta forma las diferencias entre las dos subespecies en muchas partes del mundo, sin embargo las dos permanecen bien distintas en sus areas nativas de America del Sur.
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