Growing Together: David Douches Unearths the Potential of Potato Genetics for Over Four Decades
David Douches has a passion for potato genetics. He’s researched the subject for over 40 years, and he’s the director of the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology Interdepartmental Graduate Program at Michigan State University.
David got his start in potato genetics in graduate school at North Carolina State University. Over the years, he has witnessed significant changes in the industry. Varieties have evolved, and once-dominant potatoes have given way to other options. As new viruses and diseases emerge, David’s work as a potato breeder is never truly done. His role is to identify traits that can help solve these problems and incorporate them into new varieties for growers and consumers alike. For example, David is co-directing Potatoes USA-supported, USDA-funded research into neonicotinoid alternatives. (Learn more about the effort here.)
David’s love of potatoes extends into his personal life. He has a fondness for potato chips, fries and grilling potatoes in the summer. From naming a potato variety after his daughter, Jacqueline Lee, to calling his son “Spud,” David and his wife have successfully shared their passion for this versatile and nutritious crop with their children.