Potato (Solanum tuberosum) is an annual plant that produces edible tubers. It is the most important tuber crop worldwide. Potato is grown across temperate and some tropical areas in the world, and it is the fourth most important crop worldwide (after maize, wheat and rice).
The crop originated in the Andes mountain range in South America. It is estimated that its domestication started 7,000 years ago. Potato was introduced to Europe by returning Spanish explorers during the 16th century. Later, between the late 16th and early 17th century, European traders expanded the crop to Asia and Africa.
Potato is conserved as botanical seeds, tubers and in vitro plantlets. Genesys lists about 25,000 accessions of potato, 19% of which are landraces and 24% wild relatives. The largest potato collections are in the [Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kultupflanzenforschung (IPK)] (https://www.genesys-pgr.org/explore?filter=%7B%22institute.code%22%3A%5B%22DEU159%22%5D%2C%22cropName%22%3A%5B%22potato%22%5D%7D&page=1), the [United States Potato Genebank] (http://www.ars-grin.gov/ars/MidWest/NR6/index.html) and the [International Potato Center (CIP)] (https://www.genesys-pgr.org/explore?filter=%7B%22institute.code%22%3A%5B%22PER001%22%5D%2C%22cropName%22%3A%5B%22Potato%22%5D%7D&page=1).
Complementary efforts to conserve potato diversity in its center of origin include the Potato Park, where six local Quechua communities use, manage and protect more than 600 potato landraces. CIP collaborates with the Potato Park by repatriating disease-free cultivars and supporting traditional practices for food security and local development.