Michigan State gets $5.8M grant to improve potato production

Cropped Photo: Courtesy of WPVGA / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Michigan State University researchers have received a $5.8 million federal grant to improve potato production in Bangladesh and Indonesia.

The East Lansing school announced Monday it’s leading a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development through its Feed the Future program. Michigan State works with the University of Minnesota, Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Co. and organizations in those countries to produce potatoes that can adapt to extreme weather and pests.

Researchers say they are assessing the validity of genetically engineered potatoes to develop the most sustainable kinds. They also seek to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine and still damages crops worldwide.

The U.S. Agriculture Department recently approved a potato genetically engineered by Simplot to resist the disease.

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