Blue Potato Chips

Written by Matt DiLeo

JetBlue airlines now gives out blue potato chips as their “official” snack.
I’m very impressed by the fact that these blue potato chips exist. It’s no small feat to create a good-frying potato with excellent agronomic qualities in itself. I can’t imagine crossing in blue coloring (anthocyanin expression) on top of this in a reasonable amount of time – especially since potatoes aren’t true to seed. Non true to seed crops like potatoes have messy, highly heterozygous genomes that when crossed (or selfed) produce offspring that segregate for all the traits you care about. I’ve been told that potato breeders typically make a bunch of crosses in the first year of their program – and then spend the rest of their careers evaluating and propagating the resulting segregants asexually.
Though the chips really are purple, not blue…

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Matt DiLeo has a PhD in Plant Pathology from UC, Davis. During his postdoctoral research at Boyce Thompson Institute, he researched unintentional effects of genetic engineering. Matt builds R&D teams and biotech platforms: genome editing, gene discovery, microbials, and controlled environment agriculture.

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2 comments

  1. I have noticed that the blue potatoes I have grown are much more likely to set fruits (and thus contain true seeds) compared to other potatoes.
    Is there a trick to getting potatoes to fruit properly/reliably?

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