Potato has an enormous influence worldwide. As the fourth largest
contributor to human caloric consumption, potato holds its own in the
agricultural arena. As a member of the large Solanaceae family,
potato shares the spotlight with a number of other economically
important crops, including tomato, pepper, eggplant, as well as the
ornamental petunia. Although these crops may seem quite different from
one another, genomic analysis has revealed a great similarity in terms
of gene content and organization. From a research perspective, this
similarity is quite valuable for it means that genomic information and
resources obtained from potato can be applied to other members of the
family and vice versa.
Potato's agricultural importance extends beyond the Solanaceae
family. Indeed, a number of potato characteristics (such as polyploidy
and heterozygosity) are present in many non-Solanaceous crops,
suggesting that these may be key characteristics separating crops from
other plant species.
Follow the menu links to the left to learn more about potato biology.