Potato & Genetic Recombination…

Biology 6th Period

February 9th, 2000

There exists a correlation between genetic recombination and potato famine. Phytophthora infestans, also called early blight, potato blight, downy mildew, and “rust”, began as a local disease, or fungal infestation, of wild relatives of potato and tomato in Mexico's Toluca Valley. A type of this infestation, called A1, escaped from Mexico in the 19th century and was responsible for the Irish famine of the 1840's. Through the use of genetic recombination, strains of potato have resulted that demonstrate resistance to the fungus. Thus, genetic recombination was the “cure” to this particular potato famine.