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Scientists offer potato research data and insights at Rhinelander presentationSubmitted: 07/30/2015
Story By Wren Clair

Scientists offer potato research data and insights at Rhinelander presentation
RHINELANDER - A Northern Lights Tour scientist explained Rhinelander's role in potato breeding and genetic studies on Wednesday night.

Every year, about 50,000 varieties of potato are tested to see if they could be commercially sold.

Only about one in a 100,000 will become a named potato variety.


"The Rhinelander agriculture research station on Highway C is really where that process starts," said UW-Madison Assistant Professor of Horticulture Jeffry Endelman."[B]y making the cross pollination, raising those plants for the first time in a greenhouse, and then evaluating them in the fields there for a couple years." 

Potatoes are then evaluated in many other parts of the state until the potato variety, or breeding line, is thought to exhibit commercial potential. Then the breeding line is given to the certified seed potato program. The program's farm is also in Rhinelander.

"The reason why these farms are in Rhinelander is partly because there aren't other potato farms in Rhinelander, and so we want to try and have as isolated of an environment for those early steps in the potato process," said Endelman.

The isolation helps protect the potatoes from viruses. The scientists are part of the Northern Lights Tour, which gives science talks throughout the Northwoods this July.


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