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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Heritable Variation, Genetic and Phenotypic Correlations for Tuber Traits and Host Plant Resistance to Late Blight for Potato Breeding in Scandinavian Testing Sites

Ortiz Rios, Rodomiro Octavio; Reslow, Fredrik; Crossa, Jose; Cuevas, Jaime


Potato breeding aims to improve crop productivity, quality and resilience based on heritable
characteristics. Estimating the trait heritability and correlations—both genetic and phenotypic—among
characteristics in a target population of environments allows us to define the best breeding method
that leads to selection gains. Breeding clones (47) and released cultivars (209) were grown using
simple lattice designs at three testing sites in northern and southern Sweden to estimate the best
linear unbiased predictors (BLUPs) derived from mixed linear models for characteristics such as tuber
weight (total and according to sizes), host plant resistance to late blight (caused by the oomycete
Phytophthora infestans) and tuber quality (starch percentage based on specific gravity measurements
and reducing sugars). There was significant heritable variation for all the characteristics investigated.
Tuber starch percentage and total tuber weight were the traits with the highest broad-sense heritability
(H2), while the weight for the smallest size (<40 mm) had the highest H2 among the different tuber
categories. These results show the potential for further improving these traits for Scandinavia through
recombination and selection in segregating offspring. The genetic and phenotypic correlations among
the tuber weight characteristics were significant (p 0.05) irrespective of their sizes, but none were
significant (p > 0.05) with tuber starch percentage. Host plant resistance to late blight was negatively
and significantly associated with tuber weight and starch percentage, thereby showing the strong
effects of this disease on the productivity and quality of the potatoes.


Phytophthora infestans; Solanum tuberosum; best linear unbiased predictors; broad-sense heritability; indirect selection; restricted selection index; trait associations

Published in

2021, Volume: 11, number: 12, article number: 1287

      SLU Authors

    • Associated SLU-program

      SLU Plant Protection Network

      Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG2 Zero hunger

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Agricultural Science
      Genetics and Breeding

      Publication identifier


      Permanent link to this page (URI)