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Digital Subscriptions > The Oban Times & Lochaber Times > 25th May 2017 > Scientists close in on potato blight cause and release app

Scientists close in on potato blight cause and release app

THE PATHOGEN responsible for the devastating crop disease potato late blight manipulates the plant’s growth and development to boost its infection process, a study has discovered.

Late blight played a major role in the historical Irish potato famine and is still a huge problem for farmers today, causing massive crop losses and proving difficult to manage by chemical control and traditional breeding methods.

The fungal-like pathogen, Phytophthora infestans, secretes a protein called AVR2 into the plant. This targets the plant’s mechanisms responsible for normal growth and development. This protein, or ‘effector’, can have an impact on the plant’s growth and immune response, allowing infection to spread.

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