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Researchers study 170-year-old Irish potatoes

Researchers have studied potatoes from the Irish potato famines in order to learn more about potato blight, caused by the microorganism Phytophthora infestans.

Scientists at Rothamsted extracted DNA from potato samples dating back as far as the 1840s, that had been dried, ground and stored in glass bottles by Victorian scientists, and analysed it for the presence of the blight pathogen.

“We wanted to see if it was the same strain and it was,” he said.

“It had survived between the 1840s and the 1870s between seasons on these potato tubers.”

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Story: BBC News | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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