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Blight strain behind potato famine extinct

The Phytophthora infestans strain responsible for the Irish potato famine in the mid 19th century is new to science, but likely now extinct, say researchers from an international consortium led by Germany’s Tuebingen University. The researchers compared DNA sequence data from historic herbarium samples of infected potato leaves collected from Ireland, the UK, elsewhere in Europe and North America with modern strains of P infestans. It is the first time that DNA from a plant pathogen and its plant host has been extracted and sequenced from dried herbarium samples.



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