The potato breeding program of Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA) Chile has developed and released 11 commercial varieties of potato. It is estimated that these varieties have 50% of the Chilean potato market and are being evaluated in seven foreign countries. The aim of this work is to summarize the current importance and scope of biotechnology in breeding in Chile, by presenting a program that has generated widespread material among farmers and consumers. The germplasm bank is the source of genetic diversity for controlled crosses. Techniques to introduce the material to in vitro conditions and thermotherapy to obtain pathogen-free in vitro plants are applied. The material is characterized by SSR markers. There is a flow of material from gene bank to the annual scheme of controlled crosses and selection in the plant breeding program. In the selection plots, molecular markers associated with one or few genes that have a large and heritable effect in important traits are used: golden nematode resistance, virus resistance, and late blight resistance. Then, in the early stages of seed production, all the material of the new varieties is checked by fingerprint and molecular and ELISA test for pathogen, to assure the identity and pathogen-free status of the starting seed material.
Part of the book: Potato