Irish potato famine microbe traced to Mexico

By Ashley Yeager, 10:57 AM June 3, 2014

The pathogen that triggered the Irish potato famine in the 1840s probably originated in central Mexico, not in the Andes, as some studies had suggested.

A genetic analysis of the pathogen, Phytophthora infestans, and its closest known relatives suggest that the microbes found in the Andes are descendants of the Mexican-based pathogens, scientists report June 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The finding appears to resolve the debate over two competing theories of where t...

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