Isolating DNA from potato wart disease. Scientists from Plant Research International in the Netherlands could isolate DNA from the soil fungus causing wart disease in potatoes. From Plant Research International.
The disease-causing agent is a single-celled organism called Synchytrium endobioticum, a fungus (Chytridiomycetes) with a complicated life history. The most obvious symptoms of disease are soft, cauliflowerlike proliferations of tissue surrounding the infected cells. These warts or cankers are white at first but may become green if they enlarge and are exposed to light above the soil line. Eventually, wart tissue darkens and rots to release thick walled, persistent spores that can live for up to 40 years in the soil. As chemical control of wart is extremely difficult and may harm beneficial soil organisms, resistant varieties of potato are bred to control the disease. Alternatively, infested land is taken out of production.
Author AGNES MURPHY
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