The Shannon Lab has released its first potato, Polaris Gold, the University of Minnesota’s latest potato release since Mondak Gold in 2014. The clone, formerly known as MN04844-07Y, is a cross of W2257-2 and Dakota Pearl. Polaris Gold is named after Polaris, the North Star, and Gold, after its rich, yellow flesh.
The breeding journey goes back more than a decade when the late Dr. Christian Thill made the cross for Polaris Gold. After Dr. Thill’s passing in 2014, Dr. Thomas Michaels and Colin Jones kept Polaris Gold alive. When Dr. Laura Shannon and team picked up the potato breeding project in 2017, there was grower interest in MN04844-07Y due to its flavor profile and lack of internal defects. The Shannon Lab began by reconstructing Dr. Thill’s available data and generated clean seed through antiviral tissue culture.
Polaris Gold has yellow flesh, beige-yellow skin, and round tubers. This late-maturing potato is known for excellent flavor and versatility in culinary preparation. Consumers have applauded Polaris Gold’s adaptability, reporting it as being excellent for making chips, home fries, lefse, kugelis, roasted potatoes, salads, and mashed potatoes. While similar in physical characteristics to Yukon Gold, Polaris Gold was bred as a superior alternative as it is prone to fewer internal defects like hollow heart.
Seed is currently available at Valley Tissue Culture (Halstad, MN), and from Kent Mason in Williams, MN. To learn more about the Shannon Lab team and research, please visit z.umn.edu/shannonlab.