Pests and Diseases, Research, Studies/Reports

The potato disease that changed the world

The potato disease that changed the worldMichael David Martin specializes in analyzing genetic material. He works surrounded by envelopes with plants and pictures of speckled leaves that he is studying at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) University Museum in the Department of Natural History. In recent years he has been busy finding out more about blight in plants such as potatoes. Martin is focusing primarily on researching the origins of blight itself, but this could also have useful side effects. “If we can find out where blight originally came from, then we might also be able to find places in Central America or South America with blight resistant potato plants,” says Associate Professor Martin. Genetic analysis can help scientists learn more about this plant disease, which still affects farmers and potato lovers, though not to the same degree as the first blight outbreak in Europe in 1840 when one million Irish died and at least as many Irishmen emigrated to the United States and other places. More

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