Friday, May 24, 2013
Photo from the USDA
The Smithsonian's blog highlights research sequencing the organism that caused potato blight in Ireland in the mid 1800s. The blog post (and the comments) show how research like this is connected to modern politics, even when the events are 150 years old. It's also interesting to think that this research made use of botanical collections that were made at the time. Apparently, it could lead to more research using dried plant remains. That would open up the collections of museums and botanical gardens around the world. As far as the relationship between potato blight and the potato famine, I think that Glenn Stone's blog and Eric B. Ross' book about Malthus are worth reading.