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Posts tagged: U.S. Botanic Garden

“Spuds Unearthed!” Exhibit Digs Up History of the Potato

Jean Ristaino of North Carolina State University used USDA funds to sequence late blight disease, pictured, responsible for the Irish potato famine. Her research is leading to new ways to combat the disease.

Jean Ristaino of North Carolina State University used USDA funds to sequence late blight disease, pictured, responsible for the Irish potato famine. Her research is leading to new ways to combat the disease.

The potato is the world’s fourth largest food crop and is the largest vegetable crop in the United States. The crop originated in the Andes Mountains in South America, and in the ensuing 7,000 years, has spread across the globe. Potatoes have played an important role in saving populations of people around the world from starvation. However, the potato has had a tumultuous history, suffering from late blight disease, which caused the Irish potato famine and a severe outbreak in 2009 in the United States. Read more »