CORVALLIS, Ore.-Oregon State University once again has a plant breeder leading its potato development efforts after filling a position that was vacant for nearly two years.
Sagar Sathuvalli, who started in December, is leading OSU's work to create new varieties of potatoes that are more nutritious and resist pests and diseases, including late blight. He is based at its Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center.
A native of India, Sathuvalli spent most of the last decade in Corvallis, earning doctoral and master's degrees in horticulture from OSU. In 2011, he began working as a post-doctoral research associate in hazelnut breeding and genetics at OSU.
In his new post, Sathuvalli and his colleagues will search for favorable traits in wild species, then cross those potatoes with domesticated ones. Creating new breeds of potatoes can take at least 12 years, but OSU hopes to speed up the process by using genetic markers, which are sequences of DNA that are found near genes researchers are analyzing.