Follow us!

    Re: Cause of Potato Famine & Why Its Coming Back

    Posted by Deborah on 12/27/09

    Malaria, potato famine pathogen share surprising trait

    On 12/27/09, Sharon wrote:
    > .html
    > (NaturalNews) Researchers have sequenced the genome of the
    > fungus responsible for the Great Irish Potato Famine in the
    > 1800s, uncovering the reason that the organism continues to
    > plague potato farmers to this day.
    > "This pathogen has an exquisite ability to adapt and
    > change, and that's what makes it so dangerous," said lead
    > researcher Chad Nusbaum of the Broad Institute in
    > Cambridge, Mass.
    > The organism, known as Phytophthora infestans, is a type of
    > water mold that continues to cost potato farmers billions
    > of dollars every year. It prefers cool, wet climates and is
    > capable of destroying entire fields of potatoes and
    > tomatoes within only a few days. In 2003, P. infestans
    > destroyed Papua New Guinea's entire potato crop.
    > The mold evolves resistance to antifungal sprays with
    > astonishing speed. In just the last few years, potato
    > farmers in the United Kingdom have increased chemical
    > spraying by 30 percent in an attempt to hold the organism
    > at bay, and the ongoing blight in Ireland has been
    > called "the worst in living memory," according to the BBC.
    > According to information published in the journal Nature,
    > P. infestans' genome is especially large, at least twice as
    > long as the genetic code of its closest relatives. Some
    > regions of the genome are particularly dense, containing
    > many genes in a small area, while others are much less
    > dense. It is these gene-light areas that may hold the key
    > to the organism's adaptability: more than 700 key genes
    > were mapped in these regions, some of them coding for
    > attacks on potatoes' immune systems.
    > "The regions change rapidly over time, acting as a kind of
    > incubator to enable the rapid birth and death of genes that
    > are key to plant infection," said co-lead author Brian
    > Haas. "As a result, these critical genes may be gained and
    > lost so rapidly that the hosts simply can't keep up."
    > Modern agriculture has exacerbated the problem, said Paul
    > Birch of the Scottish Crop Research Institute. Widespread
    > application of chemicals encourages pest evolution, while
    > genetic standardization of food crops makes them more
    > vulnerable to infestation.

    Posts on this thread, including this one

  Site Map:  Home Chatboards Legal Jobs Classified Ads Search Contacts Advertise
  © 1996 - 2013. All Rights Reserved. Please review our Terms of Use, Mission Statement, and Privacy Policy.