Potato Famine Pathogen, A Sneaky Genome

Sunday, February 7, 2010 , Posted by Zeeda Andrews at 2:07 PM

Resistance fighter
Late blight continues to give farmers nightmares, destroying some $6.7 billion of harvest a year. This funguslike microbe causes a fatal crop disease called late blight in potatoes and tomatoes.  Potatoes remain important worldwide, now the fourth largest food crop.

At about 240 megabases, the P. infestans genome dwarfs the 95-megabase genome of P. sojae, which attacks soybeans, and the 65-megabase genome of P. ramorum, which causes sudden oak death, the researchers report. But the late-blight pest doesn’t have extra genes compared with the other two.

Instead, regions of DNA packed tightly with genes alternate in the pest with long stretches of repetitive DNA (once thought to be a kind of “junk”) dotted with only a few genes, the team reports. Within these repetitive stretches lie most of the microbe’s effector genes, which encode proteins that help attack plants. Geneticists already know that long strings of repetitive DNA typically change readily, thus the researchers propose that these nimble regions in P. infestans may help the pathogen keep up in the arms race against plants and farmers.

A potato plant faces a tough adversary in an adaptable microbe that causes late blight. The pathogen adapts quickly to overwhelm pesticides or bred-in plant resistance, and now the newly sequenced genome of the pathogen helps explain the swift adaptability. Attack on the magnified surface of a plant, the funguslike microbe Phytophthora infestans begins its attack. This infection, called late blight, can wipe out a potato or tomato crop within days.

I have a better understanding of why we in America have so many fungal related diseases such as:

  • Candida Fungal Infections or yeast are commonly present in humans, and their growth is normally limited by the human immune system and by other microorganisms, such as bacteria occupying the same locations (niches) in the human body.  Diet has been found to affect rates of symptomatic Candidiases
  • Staphylococcus can cause a wide variety of diseases in humans and other animals through either toxin production or penetration. Staphylococcal toxins are a common cause of food poisoning, as it can grow in improperly-stored food.
I can clearly see the assault on our health and wellness through our food source. Its like we are swimming in warm water and the temperature is turned up gradually until we are fully cooked before we know what is happening. We are what we eat, Genetically Modified Pathogens and Pesticides.

Its time to take control of your health and independence and get back to the basics in life and grow your food and can it. The grocery store will soon be a thing of the past and a very fond memory.

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