Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Modern DNA techniques applied to nineteenth-century potatoes

Date:
September 19, 2012
Source:
University of Hertfordshire
Summary:
Researchers have used modern DNA techniques on late nineteenth-century potatoes to show how the potato blight may have survived between cropping seasons after the Irish potato famine of the 1840s.

Symptom of potato late blight.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Hertfordshire

Researchers led by Professor Bruce Fitt, now at the University of Hertfordshire, have used modern DNA techniques on late nineteenth-century potatoes to show how the potato blight may have survived between cropping seasons after the Irish potato famine of the 1840s.

Late blight of potato is caused by the microorganism, Phytophthora infestans, which rapidly destroys the leaves of potato crops and was responsible for the infamous Irish potato famine of the 1840s that left over one million people dead and another one million Irish emigrating. With growing concerns over food shortages and climate change, late blight remains a serious disease problem in current potato production and has also emerged as a significant disease threat to the organic tomato industry.

In the research paper published in Plant Pathology, DNA was extracted from the Rothamsted potato samples that had been dried, ground and stored in glass bottles in the nineteenth century. The DNA was then analysed for the presence of the potato blight pathogen.

Bruce Fitt, Professor of Plant Pathology at the University of Hertfordshire and formerly at Rothamsted Research, said: "It was the foresight of two nineteenth-century plant scientists to archive potato samples from their experiment that has enabled us to apply modern DNA techniques to better understand late potato blight and the implications for today's food security. The analysis of these late nineteenth-century potato samples is the earliest proof of how this disease survived between seasons in England."

The findings of this research has proved that the DNA technique applied to the potato samples is a very useful tool in plant disease diagnosis to test seed potatoes or tomato transplants for the presence of the late blight pathogen. This technique can be further developed for testing for other diseases found in different plants which affect food production.

Bruce continued: "Using modern DNA techniques to detect and quantify the pathogen in potatoes enables us to better understand the spread of potato late blight. This disease is still a serious threat to worldwide potato production."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Hertfordshire. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. B. Ristaino, C. H. Hu, B. D. L. Fitt. Evidence for presence of the founder Ia mtDNA haplotype of Phytophthora infestans in 19th century potato tubers from the Rothamsted archives. Plant Pathology, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3059.2012.02680.x

Cite This Page:

University of Hertfordshire. "Modern DNA techniques applied to nineteenth-century potatoes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120919083403.htm>.
University of Hertfordshire. (2012, September 19). Modern DNA techniques applied to nineteenth-century potatoes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120919083403.htm
University of Hertfordshire. "Modern DNA techniques applied to nineteenth-century potatoes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120919083403.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Ice Age Wooly Mammoth Remains for Sale

Raw: Ice Age Wooly Mammoth Remains for Sale

AP (Sep. 23, 2014) A rare, well-preserved skeleton of a woolly mammoth is going on sale at Summers Place Auctions hope the 11.5-foot tall, almost intact specimen will fetch between $245,000 to $409,000. (Sept. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fox Bites Conn. Student And School Staffers In Rare Attack

Fox Bites Conn. Student And School Staffers In Rare Attack

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) A fox attacked a second-grade boy at a Connecticut elementary school Monday. It also attacked two school staff members and a woman and her dog. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) Using proteins derived from mussels, engineers at MIT have made a supersticky underwater adhesive. They're now looking to make "living glue." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tiger Kills Man at India Zoo

Raw: Tiger Kills Man at India Zoo

AP (Sep. 23, 2014) A white tiger killed a young man who climbed over a fence at the New Delhi zoo and jumped into the animal's enclosure on Tuesday, a spokesman said. (Sept. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins