Tuesday, May 2, 6:00 pm – The Evolution and Migration of the Irish Potato Famine Pathogen: Darwin’s Painfully Interesting Subject

Jean Beagle Ristaino, William Neal Reynolds Professor of Plant Pathology and Director of Emerging Plant Disease and Global Food Security, North Carolina State University, will speak on Tuesday, May 2, at the Harvard University Science Center, 1 Oxford Street in Cambridge, in a Harvard Museum of Natural History program entitled The Evolution and Migration of the Irish Potato Famine Pathogen. The culprit behind the nineteenth-century Irish potato famine was Phytophthora infestans, a fungus-like microorganism that causes the disease known as “potato late blight.” New genetic tools have enabled scientists to piece together the evolution of this pathogen and the history of its outbreaks in Ireland. Jean Ristaino will discuss the latest research on P. infestans and describe Charles Darwin’s early role in the search for durable resistance to this serious plant disease. Free parking is available at the 52 Oxford Street Garage. Free and open to the public.