Potato (Solanum tuberosum)
The humble potato just might be one of the most important crops throughout human history. It's easy to take for granted with today's wide range of potato varieties to choose from, but potatoes were't always as we've come to appreciate and value them. It took thousands of years of breeding to arrive at the smooth, mild flavored, and productive varieties we've come to love. As a result of their complex genetics, and quickly accelerated by modern breeding techniques and the demand for uniform mono-cultures, the potato's genetics are in danger.
By growing from seeds, and selecting for desirable and sustainable traits (seed production for example), you can do your part to ensure that the cherished potato as we've come to know and love it, doesn't find itself at a genetic dead end. The sad truth is that several time honored heirloom potato varieties become extinct every year, never to grow again. And inevitably, more will follow. But if we can work together to preserve the valuable genetics contained in these varieties, we can help to ensure that future generations will be able to utilize and enjoy the potato in the years to come.