Regeneration guidelines for wild potato

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The information on this page was extracted from:
Salas A., Gaspar O., Rodríguez W., Vargas M., Centeno R. and Tay D. 2008. Regeneration guidelines: wild potato.
In: Dulloo M.E., Thormann I., Jorge M.A. and Hanson J., editors. Crop specific regeneration guidelines [CD-ROM]. CGIAR System-wide Genetic Resource Programme, Rome, Italy. 9 pp.

Before reading the regeneration details for this crop, read the general introduction that gives general guidelines to follow by clicking here.


Potato genetic resources are mainly conserved in clonal collections, e.g. tuber, in vitro culture and cryopreservation. Botanical seed collections of cultivated potato can be carried out only in selected cases for example, after duplicated accessions in the global in-trust collection held at the International Potato Center (CIP) have been identified, open-pollinated seed is harvested from the field-grown clones for safe maintenance. The handling of the berries and seed follow similar steps as described below.
The conservation of wild potato species germplasm, on the other hand, is primarily conducted in the form of botanical seed collections. There are 188 wild potato species recognized up to now (Spooner and Salas 2006). Of these, 141 species are conserved in The Germplasm Bank at CIP. Wild potato species have a wide geographical distribution, from the south-west of the United States to the central part of Argentina and Chile, from sea level up to 4500 masl in a wide range of environments that include puna zones and high plateaus in the Andes, dry forests in Mexico, vegetation on the Chilean coasts and humid forests in the oriental part of the Andes. Wild potato species have a basic chromosome number of x=12 and include diploids, triploids, tetraploids and hexaploids. Each species shows different characteristics of reproduction; most are allogamic to varying extents and a small group could be 100% autogamous (as in case of Solanum acaule Bitter).

Solanum hypacrarthrum Bitte. (photo: A. Salas/CIP)

Choice of environment and planting season

Climatic conditions

Planting season

Preparation for regeneration

When to regenerate

The period between regeneration cycles varies with genotype. Each genotype shows different characteristics of reproduction and seed viability during long-term storage. Test germination every 5 years to determine minimum period of regeneration.

Pre-treatments and viability monitoring

Evaluate a sample of 100 seeds for viability. If average viability is >85%, store seeds in a cold chamber at -20°C for long-term conservation. If average viability is <85%, regenerate the accession. In case of dormancy pre-treat seeds with gibberellic acid to break dormancy.

Substrate selection and preparation

Preparation of planting material

Labelling transplanted seedlings.
(photo: M. Vargas/CIP)

Seedlings ready to be transplanted into 20-cm pots.
(photo: M. Vargas/CIP)

Method of regeneration

Planting layout, density and distance


The pollination of wild potato species can be done using one of three different techniques, namely reciprocal crosses, bulk crossing and open pollination. Open pollination is normally used for cleistogamic and autogamic species as well as for outbreeders. For other wild species, either the reciprocal crosses or bulk crossing technique is used depending on the number of flowers per plant. The choice also depends on the amount of resources available and level of genetic integrity which is aimed for. Bulk crossing is less expensive than reciprocal crosses, but the latter ensure a higher genetic integrity of the accession.
The reciprocal crosses technique is chosen when there are less than 5 flowers per plant.
Flower number in wild potatoes is very variable, and depends on both the appropriate temperature and light under greenhouse condition.

Reciprocal crosses between sister plants:

Bulk crossing:

Wild potato plants regenerated in a screenhouse in Huancayo, Peru. (photo: M. Vargas/CIP)

Open pollination:


Labelling of accessions

Crop management

Staking and cleaning



Common pests and diseases

Pest and disease control



When berries have reached maturity (about 45 days) harvest each inflorescence separately, place in a labelled paper bag and record the number of berries obtained.

Seed separation procedure using water.
(photo: M. Vargas/CIP)

Post-harvest management

Seed drying

Seed storage

Monitoring accession identity

Compare each accession with the following characterization data previously recorded for the accession:

Prepare herbarium specimens for future reference.
At harvest, characterize berries to confirm the taxon of the regenerated accessions.

Documentation of information during regeneration

Collect the following data during regeneration:

References and further reading

FAO/IPGRI. 1998. Potato. FAO/IPGRI Technical Guidelines for the Safe Movement of Germplasm. No. 19. FAO/IPGRI, Rome, Italy.

Harrington JF. 1963. Practical advice and instructions on seed storage. Proceedings of the International Seed Testing Association 28:989–994.

Hijmans RJ, Spooner DM. 2001. Geographic distribution of wild potato species. American Journal of Botany 88:2101–2112.

Hijmans RJ, Spooner DM, Salas AR, Guarino L, de la Cruz J. 2002. Atlas of wild potatoes. Systematic and Ecogeographic Studies on Crop Genepools 10. IPGRI, Rome, Italy. pp. 4–5.

Roberts EH. 1973. Predicting the storage life of seed. Seed Science and Technology 1:499–514. Roberts EH, Ellis RH. 1977. Prediction of seed longevity at sub-zero temperatures and genetic resources conservation. Nature 268:431–432.

Spooner DM, Salas AR. 2006. Structure, biosystematics and genetic resources. Gopal J, Paul Khurana SM, editors. In: Handbook of Potato Production, Improvement, and Post-harvest Management. Haworth Press Inc., New York, USA. pp. 1–39.


These guidelines have been peer reviewed by William Roca, International Potato Center (CIP), Peru, and Andrea M. Clausen, Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA), Argentina.

The Genebanks

The 11 CGIAR genebanks currently conserve 730,000 of cereals and grain legumes, forage crops, tree species, root and tuber crops, bananas and crop wild relatives.