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Virus that combats potato diseases named after Cork in Ireland

A new group of helpful viruses which tackle the diseases which blight potato crops have been named Cork, the second largest city in Ireland, located in the south-west of Ireland, in the province of Munster. Eoin English reports for the Irish Examiner.

When Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) PhD student, Colin Buttimer, was asked by his supervisor to gather soil samples from potato farms around West Cork to discover natural predators of the causative agent of potato diseases such as soft-rot and blackleg, he never guessed that he would discover a virus which kills bacteria (known as a bacteriophage) that was quite different from others in the scientific literature.

Colin Buttimer, the 31 year-old researcher who discovered ‘Corkvirinae‘, said he is delighted to name the new viruses after where they were found. But more importantly, he said they have the potential for controlling potato late blight.

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