identified strain of potato blight, called "HERB-1," was responsible for mass starvation during the Irish potato famine in the 19th Century. At least a million people died of starvation at that time.
The precise strain of the pathogen that caused the devastating outbreak, which lasted from 1845 to 1852, had been unknown - until now.
"We have finally discovered the identity of the exact strain that caused all this havoc," study co-author Hernán Burbano, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Germany said.
Molecular biologists from across the world studied the historical spread of Phytophthora infestans, a fungus-like organism that devastated potato crops and led to the famine.
A Phytophthora strain called US-1 was at first thought to have triggered the famine. However, sequencing the genomes of preserved samples of the plant pathogen, the researchers discovered that a new, different strain the real culprit.
"Both strains seem to have separated from each other only years before the first major outbreak in Europe," Burbano said.
I think molecular biology will lead to many new findings in the near future. The genome of wheat was recently completed. There are so many little things in nature we still do not understand.
LuAnn brought in infected leaves of our blueberry patch and various trees and shrubs. I said the apple trees have scab and she quickly identified all kinds of scab and rust fungi on those leaves she brought in, after doing some research with her Xyboard.
She found a biological fungicide called Actinovate. I know nothing about it. Do any of you? I can't see where it will hurt anything but will it help anything?
SabrEx I know will help my corn, soybeans and wheat. I have umpteen years of experience on those so I can't poo poo her desire.
The Irish potato famine is definitely in my background and is another reason I am who I am and why I am here. I see the connection.