Rwanda uses biotech potato variety to fight same blight that caused Irish Potato Famine — saving 80% of potatoes

Media: Genetic Literacy Project

Late blight, a potentially devastating disease affecting potatoes and tomatoes, infecting leaves, stems, potato tubers and tomato fruits, spreads quickly in fields and can result in total crop failure if untreated. According to the International potato Centre (CIP), in East Africa, the disease can destroy as much as 60-100 per cent of the crop.

The CIP scientists working with Rwanda are using bioengineering to transfer resistance genes from wild potato relatives into varieties that are already popular with farmers and consumers so as to fight the disease.