SCRI joins forces with Dundee and Warwick universities to seek solution to late blight in potatoes

The Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI) has teamed up with the universities of Dundee and Warwick to tackle late blight in potato with a £3.5m research project.

The researchers from SCRI, Dundee and Warwick will look at how molecules from the potato pathogen Phytophthora infestans can cause late blight.

They will examine how Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis molecules cause downy mildew in the model plant Arabidopsis.

Late blight — the world's most destructive potato disease, which triggered the Irish potato famine — costs £3bn a year in crop failure and fungicides.

"Today, it is still the worst potato disease and results in huge losses," said University of Dundee professor Paul Birch.

The £3.5m came from the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council, and the project will be led by Professor Birch and Professor Jim Beynon at Warwick.

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