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    Re: Cause of Potato Famine & Why Its Coming Back

    Posted by Mike B. on 12/29/09

    Which FEMA trailer suit are you referring to?

    On 12/28/09, Deborah wrote:
    > sorry, I realize that might be over your head, I just thought
    > you'd realize it and have enough sense to let someone else
    > Oh, maybe you were responding to Sharon's post rather than mine?
    > Hey, how did that FEMA trailer suit work out?
    > On 12/28/09, Mike B. wrote:
    >> do you make the leap to the conclusion that the
    >> potato famine is coming back?
    >> On 12/27/09, Deborah wrote:
    >>> Malaria, potato famine pathogen share surprising trait
    >> 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.

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