Skip to comments.Ancient Peruvians Loved Their Spuds
Posted on 10/04/2005 2:03:24 PM PDT by blam
Ancient Peruvians loved their spuds
Tuesday, 4 October 2005
The humble chip originated from potatoes grown in Peru about 7000 years ago (Image: iStockphoto)
The first cultivated potato was grown in what is now Peru, researchers say, and it originated only once, not several times, as some experts propose.
The genetic study shows the first potato known to have been farmed is genetically closest to a species now found only in southern Peru, the US and UK researchers write online, ahead of print, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"This result shows the potato originated one time and from a species that was distributed in southern Peru," says Professor David Spooner, a US Department of Agriculture researcher at the University of Wisconsin, who led the study.
The findings challenge theories that potatoes were first cultivated in Bolivia or Argentina, or that farmers bred them several different times in several different places.
"The origin of crop plants has long fascinated botanists, archaeologists, and sociologists with the following fundamental questions: when, where, how, why, and how many times did crop domestication occur? What are the wild progenitors of these crops?" the researchers write.
The study did not address when the first potato would have been cultivated, but other research suggests it would have been between 7000 and 10,000 years ago.
A single species
Potatoes are a major food staple around the world and mostly belong to a single species Solanum tuberosum.
Baking potatoes, red potatoes, golden potatoes and other favourites all originated in southern Chile, neighbouring Peru, Spooner says.
The Chilean potato that gave rise to modern potatoes is probably a hybrid of the ancestral Peruvian potato and a wild species found in Bolivia and Argentina, Spooner says.
But in South America, many other cultivated potatoes are eaten.
"There are many different colours: solid and mottled and dotted from white to tan to purple to red," Spooner says.
Fossil potatoes dating back 7000 years have been found.
Looking to genetics
For their study, Spooner and colleagues did genetic comparisons of 261 wild relatives of potatoes and 98 so-called landrace types, which are primitive cultivated crops grown by indigenous peoples.
The researchers believe their findings show a single species, S. bukasovii, gave rise to the first known cultivated potato.
But it would not have closely resembled the big, pale fleshy tubers that people crave today, Spooner says.
"The wild species, many of them have tubers, the potato part you eat, that is tiny, sometimes the size of a pea," he says.
"Oftentimes they are mildly poisonous."
Rethinking the Irish potato famine
Thursday, 7 June 2001
DNA fingerprinting of 150-year-old potato leaves has shed new light on the cause of one of the most significant events in modern history, the great Irish potato famine.
The famous famine of the 1840s killed more than a million people and forced another two million to immigrate to the United States and other countries. The catastrophic crop failure has been widely blamed on an infection with the potato fungus Phytopthera infestans.
But a new study by scientists at North Carolina State University has shown the particular variety of the fungus widely blamed for the event was not the guilty party.
DNA analysis of historic specimens stored at England's Kew Royal Botanic Gardens and elsewhere showed no trace of the strain known as 1b haplotype. Instead, the research points the finger at one of three other strains.
This is significant not just for historical reasons, but because modern forms of the pathogen are the most serious potato pests in the world. Potatoes are one of the world's four leading food crops and in developing countries, fungal control measures may be too costly.
Knowing which is the true ancestral strain should help scientists identify where in the world the disease originated. The current evidence suggests South America, not Mexico as previously thought. This in turn should help in the search for naturally-resistant crop varieties that could be used to breed new potato plants for widespread use.
"The geographic center of origin. is where you 're most likely to find plants that have developed natural resistance, " said Dr Jean Beagle Ristaino, whose report is published in the journal Nature.
Knowing how the pathogen spread and how it has mutated over the years would also be useful because it could help scientists develop better control measures to prevent future epidemics.
The study is the first to analyse DNA from historic specimens. Previous studies had analysed material collected from modern-day outbreaks.
Cathy Johnson - ABC Science Online
As we learned in "la clase de espanol" in "la escuela", the words were: "papas" in Latinoamerica, and "patatas" in Espana.
Well, shut-my-mouth, lol.
It didn't turn up in the title search.
Well, it ain't like their titles are remotely similar.
Tuesday, 15 February 2005
Genetically modified potatoes containing an edible vaccine may one day be used to immunise people against hepatitis B and other infectious diseases (Image: iStockphoto)
A hepatitis vaccine grown in genetically engineered potatoes seems to protect most people who eat them, US researchers report.
About 60% of the volunteers who ate the biggest dose of potatoes had an immune response that should protect against infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV), the researchers write in today's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Professor Charles Arntzen of Arizona State University and colleagues hope to develop the vaccine into something that could be used in developing nations, where most cases of hepatitis B are reported.
"There is an urgent need to make oral vaccines available in poorer countries of the world where infectious diseases are still the primary cause of death," says Dr Yasmin Thanavala, an immunologist at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York, who led the study.
The researchers tested 42 volunteers, all of whom had been vaccinated against hepatitis B already using a commercially available shot.
The volunteers ate pieces of raw potato, some of which had been genetically modified to contain a protein from the hepatitis B virus. These genetically modified potatoes carried the gene for hepatitis B surface antigen, which stimulates an immune response.
Neither the volunteers nor the researchers knew who had been chosen at random to receive the ordinary potatoes or the genetically modified ones.
How well did it work?
Antibodies against hepatitis rose in more than 60% of the volunteers who ate three pieces of the genetically engineered potatoes and in more than half of those who ate two pieces.
But about 40% of the volunteers did not seem to have the hoped-for immune response to the vaccine.
The researchers note that commercially available shots do not always prompt an immune response.
The authors say the vaccine consists of only one protein from the virus and may thus be safer than other oral vaccines that use weakened but living viruses.
The commercially available hepatitis B shot must be kept refrigerated and it is expensive, meaning it cannot be used in many poor areas. Growing the vaccine in plants such as potatoes might make it more available, the researchers say.
And people may be more likely to take an edible vaccine than get a shot.
One million people die from hepatitis B infection every year, the researchers say.
Members of the team are also working to grow vaccines in bananas, tomatoes and tobacco.
I thought this was that stupid beer dog.
I must say, Freepers seem to love their tubers. This is the third post I've seen on this story.
Yup. The irritating part is that I was the last one to the party, lol.
I didn't remember it either
I like that list (in the earlier topic) showing the (I guess) FR birthday of the list members. I may steal that. Or, adapt it a little, showing the date when members got added (although that would exclude GGG members from little more than a year ago). The memoriam list must be members who have been booted?
The Freepday list is the date the member joined FR. The Memoriam list are for those who've been banned. I keep all this stuff in a database and run queries against it.
"The introduction of the potato to Europe caused a population explosion."
The introduction of refried beans to Europe also caused an explosion, but of a different kind.
[I struggled against the urge to post that, lost]
You may have been last to the party, but your topic has at least two cool sidebars. Chive got to ping it later, after I get home.
Yup. More 'bang' for the buck.
Everyone knows Taters originated in the Shire.
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[I struggled against the urge to post that, lost]
LOL! I'm glad you lost, that's how my mind works too!
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