Feature

No Small Potatoes

Patenting Spuds in an Era of Gene Silencing

Paul D. Swanson

©2016. Published in Landslide, Vol. 9, No. 1, September/October 2016, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

During a 1911 journey—in which he would discover Machu Picchu—Hiram Bingham’s exploration party came across native Peruvians who “lived almost entirely on gruel made from chuño, frozen bitter potatoes. Little else than potatoes will grow at 14,000 feet above the sea.”1 For millennia, those living in the Andean highlands have cultivated over 3,000 varieties of potatoes—many of which remain unknown to our collective palates today.

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