Dr Alison Lees, a research leader for AHDB-funded research into late blight at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee speaks to Heather Briggs about this year’s Fight Against Blight.
“We have currently received 576 samples from 86 blight outbreaks this season, with more arriving every day due to the weather conditions being favourable for late blight in large parts of the country through July and into August,” she says.
“This year, for the first time, we have been aiming to get a real-time picture of what’s happening with P. infestans genotypes across GB during the growing season as we know that aggressive blight strains have evolved rapidly in recent years.”
Alison says: “To date, of the 268 FTA samples that we have analysed so far, 41 per cent are genotype 36_A2. Earlier in the season 36_A2 was found in South-East England, but there have now also been reports of this aggressive strain in Lancashire and most recently in Scotland.”
“Combined, the older genotypes 6_A1, 13_A2 and 1_A1, decreased from 60 per cent to 40 per cent of the population from 2016 to 2018 while the newer genotypes 36_A2, 37_A2 and 41_A2 increased from 10 to 36 per cent of the population from 2016 to 2018.
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