The use of genetic resources could bemore effective and efficient ifwewere able to predict the presence or absence of useful traits in different populations or accessions.We analyzed the extent to which taxonomic, geographic and ecological factors can predict the presence of frost tolerance in wild potatoes. We used screening data for 1646 samples from 87 species that had been collected in 12 countries in the Americas. There was a strong association of frost tolerancewith species and to a lesser extentwith taxonomic series. Therewas significant geographic clustering of areas with wild potatoes with similar levels of frost tolerance. Areas with a high level of frost tolerance are the central and southern Peruvian Andes, the lowlands of Argentina and adjacent areas, and a small area in the central Chilean Andes. There is a greater chance of finding wild potatoes with high levels of frost tolerance in areas with a yearly mean minimum temperature below 3 ◦C than there is in warmer areas. However, temperature is only a weak predictor of frost tolerance. Temperature data alone did not predict observed frost tolerance in eastern Argentina/Uruguay and falsely predicted it in the southwestern United States. Because many wild potato species occur over small areas, taxonomic, ecological, and geographical factors are difficult to disentangle.
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