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    Re: Cause of Potato Famine & Why Its Coming Back

    Posted by Deborah on 12/29/09

    Oh, the class action over the formaldehyde and FEMA trailers...

    On 12/29/09, Mike B. wrote:
    > 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
    > respond...
    >> 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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