September 4, 2018

“Population genomics and geospatial analytics to track the origins, evolution, and emergence of Phytophthora infestans” (2016)

Seed Grant in Pathogenic and Commensal Organisms

PIs are Jean Ristaino, Hanelle Lindqvist-Krueze, Michael Martin, and Laura Tateosian, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Late blight of potato and tomato caused by Phytophthora infestans is a devastating disease worldwide and led to the Irish potato famine in 1845. Under favorable weather conditions, tomato and potato crops can be destroyed within days. Yield losses caused by late blight and the cost of control measures have been estimated to exceed 6.7 billion dollars annually and the disease is a major threat to food security worldwide. In this project we plan to examine the genetic diversity of the pathogen at the center of origin of the potato host in the Andean region of Peru and determine whether host biodiversity has impacted the evolution of the pathogen.



Saville AC, Martin MD, and Ristaino JB. (2016) Historic late blight outbreaks caused by a widespread dominant lineage of Phytophthora infestans (Mont.) de BaryPLoS One 11(12): e0168381.

Ristaino JB and Pfister DH. (2016) “What a painfully interesting subject”: Charles Darwin’s studies of potato late blightBioScience 66(12): 1035-1045.

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