Projects per year
Phytophthora infestans has been a named pathogen for well over 150 years and yet it continues to "emerge", with thousands of articles published each year on it and the late blight disease that it causes. This review explores five attributes of this oomycete pathogen that maintain this constant attention. First, the historical tragedy associated with this disease (Irish potato famine) causes many people to be fascinated with the pathogen. Current technology now enables investigators to answer some questions of historical significance. Second, the devastation caused by the pathogen continues to appear in surprising new locations or with surprising new intensity. Third, populations of P. infestans worldwide are in flux, with changes that have major implications to disease management. Fourth, the genomics revolution has enabled investigators to make tremendous progress in terms of understanding the molecular biology (especially the pathogenicity) of P. infestans. Fifth, there remain many compelling unanswered questions.