Monday, April 10, 2006

Baked Potatoes

Talk about species-specific: The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle is reporting that a particular strain of golden nematode (Globodera rostochiensis, Ro2) has targeted a potato farm in Livonia, New York. This isn't the first time it has happened to the Guilian Farm, either. Back in the 1960s, the "Ro1" strain of the nematode was causing problems for them, rendering their potato plants useless. Cornell University eventually provided relief by breeding resistant varieties of potato. Meanwhile, a quarantine of the invaded area has kept the nematode confined to the state of New York for forty years.

Unfortunately, there are currently no varieties of potato that are resistant enough against the nematodes to allow the farm to grow a marketable product, and it is going to take five to ten years to breed one that is. In the meantime, perhaps a change of crops is in the Guilian Farm's future.

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