Scientists pinpoint organism which caused Ireland’s devastating 1845 potato blight

A depiction of a family during The Great Hunger

Scientists have identified the pathogen that caused the potato blight of 1845, one of the factors which led to the countries devastating Great Hunger, killing one million people.

The DNA extracted from 19th Century samples showed that this strain, HERB-1, which caused so much death in the 1800s, is different from modern day epidemics which continue to attack crops around the world.

A team led by The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, traced the spread of the potato blight from the 1800s to present day. Until now it was unknown how the blight, Phytophthora infestans, was related to those of today.

The study, published in the journal eLife, shows that the strain HERB-1 is likely to have been linked to a fungal disease which came to Ireland from Mexico.

Between 1846 and 1851 one eighth of Ireland’s population were killed while another two million emigrated. The potato blight, along with the actions and inactions of the British Government at the time, were catastrophic.

Scientists in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States analyzed dried leaves from Kew Royal Botanical Gardens, UK, and Botanische Staatssammlung Munchen, Germany, the BBC report.

Prof Sophien Kamoun of The Sainsbury Laboratory said, “This strain was different from all the modern strains that we analyzed – most likely it is new to science.

“We can’t be sure but most likely it’s gone extinct.”

via Scientists pinpoint organism which caused Ireland’s devastating 1845 potato blight | Irish News | IrishCentral.


About Old Boy

Love the past and the future but live in the present

Posted on May 26, 2013, in Food, Health, Ireland, politics, SCIENCE and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Mono-crops and sending all the rest (best) of the food elsewhere. There was plenty of food, just the locals were not allowed to eat it.

    • You are dead right…Plenty of food …exports during the famine were near an all time high. Worse still it was the Irish Middle class traders played a large part in this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Canadian Cinephile

"For me, cinema is a vice. I love it intimately." Fritz Lang

Dispatches from the Asylum

I believe in only one thing and that thing is human liberty ~ H.L. Mencken


a gallery of Irish snapshot and vernacular photography.


Exploring life lessons though the Arts

Classic for a Reason

Reviews of Classic Films from the Golden Age of Hollywood

Burrello Submarine's Movie Blog

cinema esoterica obscura

Motion Picture Blog

Indie Film Reviews & Classic Film Lists

First Night Design

Art, Design, Theatre, Literature, History, Food, Laughter ...

Paddy Healy's Blog

In defence of Education and the Public Services



Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Movies Tavern

Horror e Exploitation, B-Movies & Trash, Rarità e Capolavori. Insomma, ciò che mi piace.


The life and times of a filmmaker: fashion, beauty, books and life.

spearfruit's my life


Movie reviews and anything else that comes to mind

renxkyoko's space

Just another site


"TheMarckoguy" is the alternate name for Markus. Markus is a human who reviews stuff.

Tippity Tappin Away in the Coffee Shop

I write a lot, and I wanted a place to share my flash fiction stories.


The world is everything that is the case. --- Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Erin's Movie corner

Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn

Come Here To Me!

Dublin Life & Culture.

Ghost Dog

Notes From the Underground with Pictures

Karmic Reaction Blog


Product of

An average guy capable of discussing TV & film on a higher level but would rather do it from the couch.

Kate Bowyers Media Adventure

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” — Maya Angelou

Reel Realities

A blog about my love for movies


Uncovering the silent era

American History-8th Block

Made by Alyssa Carlton

31 Horror Movies in 31 Days

Celebrating History and Horror Films

Gizmo February

The Literary Explorations of a Bulldog

Year of Horror

One full year of clammy hands and sweaty butt cheeks


Design as understood by Danielle

Bradley's Basement

Tim Bradley's Blog

Champagne for Lunch

"Only on special occasions."

Save Celluloid

Information on Film Preservation and Restoration

Media coursework

By George Milton



Nitrate Diva

Old Movies. Fresh Takes.

Kid Slender

Let all the children boogie

%d bloggers like this: