The 'World's Largest' Potato Needs a DNA to Prove It's a Tuber

The New Zealand couple who discovered the 17.2-pound potato say they’ve been asked to send a sample to a Scottish lab for testing before it can earn a Guinness World Records title.

One large yellow potato sits with other much smaller yellow potatoes
Photo: Massimiliano Finzi / Getty Images

Last August, New Zealanders Colin and Donna Craig-Brown were working in their garden when they made a once-in-a-lifetime find, hidden beneath the soft soil. They saw what Colin called "a hunk of tuber" and immediately started trying to dig the rest of it out. And then they kept digging… and digging.

When they finally pulled the massive, misshapen object out of the ground, they realized they'd found…well, they weren't sure what they'd found until Colin took a bite of it. "Honey, it's a bloody potato," he said, according to the Washington Post.

That bloody potato was also freaking huge, tipping the scales at a very un-potato-like 17.2 pounds. They named the potato Dug (some outlets have written it as 'Doug,' but the Craig-Browns told the Post that they called it Dug "because [they] dug him up") and started to investigate whether they might have accidentally discovered a record-setting tuber.

The current Guinness World Record for the Heaviest Potato belongs to Englishman Peter Glazebrook, whose 4.98 kg (10 lb, 14 oz) potato had an official weigh-in at Somerset's National Gardening Show in 2011. Although the Craig-Browns' find has significantly bested that particular potato, the Guinness people aren't convinced — not just about the potato's weight, but they seem to be unsure whether Dug is a potato at all.

Colin told The Times that, even though Dug has been assessed by "experts and agronomists and field scientists," they've been asked to send a piece of the potato to researchers at Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) for DNA testing and genetic analysis.

"Do they think I genetically modified it?" Colin asked. "It's been a rollercoaster of emotion. While it's extremely deflating, I want to prove them wrong. We will do everything they ask of us."

A SASA spokesperson confirmed to the outlet that someone from Guinness had contacted the agency's molecular biology department about having Dug tested and genotyped. In the meantime, the Craig-Browns have kept Dug in their freezer, and they're worried about what effect that could have on the potato.

Not only has it started to mold, it's also lost a bit of weight in the months since it was pulled out of the ground. Any DNA-related delays might alter Dug's fate too: Colin, who's also a DIY distiller, told the Post that he'd planned to turn him into vodka.

Fingers crossed that the Craig-Browns will be able to toast Dug's record-setting status way before he becomes something drinkable.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles