Solanum tuberosum potato lines with high amylose content were generated by crossing with the wild potato species Solanum sandemanii followed by repeated backcrossing to Solanum tuberosum lines. The trait, termed increased amylose (IAm), was recessive and present after three generations of backcrossing into S. tuberosum lines (6.25% S. sandemanii genes). The tubers of these lines were small, elongated and irregular with small and misshaped starch granules and high sugar content. Additional backcrossing resulted in less irregular tuber morphology, increased starch content (4.3%–9.5%) and increased amylose content (29%–37.9%) but indifferent sugar content. The amylose in the IAm starch granules was mainly located in peripheral spots, and large cavities were found in the granules. Starch pasting was suppressed, and the digestion-resistant starch (RS) content was increased. Comprehensive microarray polymer profiling (CoMPP) analysis revealed specific alterations of major pectic and glycoprotein cell wall components. This complex phenotype led us to search for candidate IAm genes
exploiting its recessive trait. Hence, we sequenced genomic DNA of a pool of IAm lines, identified SNPs genome wide against the draft genome sequence of potato and searched for regions of decreased heterozygosity. Three regions, located on chromosomes 3, 7 and 10, respectively, displayed markedly less heterozygosity than average. The only credible starch metabolism-related gene found in these regions encoded the isoamylase-type debranching enzyme Stisa1.
Decreased expression of mRNA (>500 fold) and reduced enzyme activity (virtually absent from IAm lines) supported Stisa1 as a candidate gene for IAm.