About the Hutton Collections
Research conducted at The James Hutton Institute aims to strengthen the performance and sustainability of agricultural systems in Scotland through maintaining and exploiting variation in biological collections. Our germplasm collections supply material to industry and research for developing new varieties with desirable characteristics. Collections of pest and disease organisms provide important resources for understanding their biology and devising strategies and diagnostic tests to reduce their impact on managed and natural ecosystems.
The Commonwealth Potato Collection is the UK’s genebank of landrace and wild potatoes held in trust by the James Hutton Institute with the support of the Scottish Government. The collection is one of a network of international potato genebanks.
The collection comprises around 1500 accessions of about 80 wild and cultivated potato species. Each accession traces back to a handful of berries or tubers from potato plants in South or Central America, gathered from the wild or obtained from a grower at a market.
Such genetic resources are priceless, comprising the basic resource for the improvement and adaptation of the world’s fourth most important food crop, the potato.
The James Hutton Institute has generated nationally important reference collections of plant pests and pathogens that are maintained with the support of the Scottish Government. The majority of the collection has been genetically characterised providing representative samples of major microbial threats to Scottish crops.
These collections are crucial for understanding the biology and ongoing evolution of the plant pests and pathogens and a key resource for many other studies; for example, pesticide insensitivity or plant resistance breeding programmes. The cultures are available as either living specimens or DNA samples. Further details, key references and contacts for specific collections are listed below.
Plant virology research has been undertaken at the James Hutton Institute and its predecessor organizations for more than 60 years. During this time our researchers have identified, characterised and studied a large number of different viruses that are involved not only in diseases of Scottish crops but also, via our many international collaborations, in temperate and tropical agricultural systems.
This collection provides the biological material not only for fundamental investigations of virus biology and plant resistance to viruses but also allows the continuing design and testing of new and improved diagnostic and detection systems that enable sustainable production of disease-free fruit, vegetable and cereal crops.