Did you know potatoes inspired fashion & space programs?
Potato is the 4th most grown crop in the world, after corn, wheat, and rice . In the 18th century, potatoes inspired a fashion amongst the French aristocracy when Marie Antoinette decorated elaborate coiffures with potato blossoms and Louis XVI wore them on his vests. In 1995, potato seeds were taken into space aboard NASA’s Shuttle Columbia. Astronauts tested if they could produce minitubers, making them the first food crop grown in outer space!
To further increase diversity of potato varieties, scientists have now completely decoded the complex potato genome . This technological breakthrough will accelerate breeding of improved varieties which are resilient to mitigate effects of climate change. Also, diseases such as potato blight, which caused the 1845 Irish famine could now be better researched and overcome with innovative plant breeding.