Scientist Discover Culprit Pathogen Causing Irish Potato Famine

Scientist Discover Culprit Pathogen Causing Irish Potato Famine

A team of researchers, which was being lead by Sainsbury Laboratory in the UK, has been successful in identifying the pathogen that might have caused the Irish Potato Famine. The Famine occurred past 168 years.

This is the first time when the researchers have decoded the genome of a plant pathogen from a sample of dried herbarium. The research suggested that the famine that killed about 1 million people and occurred as an outcome of fungus-like pathogen called Phytophthora Infestans.

The scientists were aware of the fact that this pathogen is responsible for causing such events in Ireland however; they believed that it is associated with a strain called US-1. The team of Sainsbury researchers derived the DNA from the infected potato leaves that has been collected as the samples of the museum in the 1840's.

They compared the pathogens to the modern strains. The team derived conclusion that the strains were not US-1 but were something that was never identified ever before. The team named them as strain HERB-1.

Sainsbury Laboratory's Sophien Kamoun said that the strain was different from all the existing modern strains that were investigated. The strains are more likely to be new to the field of science. The team believes that HERB-1 may be extinct. However, US-1 is still detected all over the world.

The research got published in the Journal eLife.

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