How Many Chromosomes Do Potatoes Have?

many-chromosomes-potatoes Credit: United Soybean Board/CC-BY 2.0

Potatoes have 48 chromosomes that are arranged into 24 pairs. The number of chromosomes in living organisms, including plants, flowers and vegetables, varies widely. Some, such as the garden onion, have only 16 chromosomes, while other species like ferns, have over 100 pairs of chromosomes.

The chromosomes of potatoes, as with other types of plants and animals, account for their unique individual traits and characteristics. There is a considerable amount of variation in the appearance and biological composition between plants and animals and within the plant and animal kingdoms. In all living organisms, chromosomes serve as important areas for reproduction by storing strands of DNA, which contain genetic information. Most plants and animals of the same species have the same number of chromosomes, although the number of chromosomes between species varies. Although potatoes have fewer chromosomes than many types of animals and some higher level plants, they have physical distinctions that derive from their specific chromosomes. Chromosomes help distinguish between the more than 5,000 various species of potatoes around the world. Chromosomes also give potatoes their color, which ranges from a white skin to pale yellow, pink or red. The genes of some potatoes are manipulated synthetically to produce hybrids, expanding their genetic diversity.