160 Years Later, Scientists Grow a GM Potato That Could Have Prevented the Irish Potato Famine | Smart News | Smithsonian

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From 1845 to 1852, the Great Hunger devastated Ireland and Scotland. A widespread outbreak of potato blight wiped out the potato crop, killing more than a million Irish people, and sending many Irish and Scots emigrating to new lands, largely Australia, Canada and the United States.

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A few days after potatoes were dug from the ground, they began to turn into a slimy, decaying, blackish "mass of rottenness." Expert panels convened to investigate the blight's cause suggested that it was the result of "static electricity" or the smoke that billowed from railroad locomotives or the "mortiferous vapours" rising from underground volcanoes. In fact, the cause was a fungus that had traveled from Mexico to Ireland. "Famine fever"--cholera, dysentery, scurvy, typhus, and infestations of lice--soon spread through the Irish countryside. Observers reported seeing children crying with pain and looking "like skeletons, their features sharpened with hunger and their limbs wasted, so that there was little left but bones." Masses of bodies were buried without coffins, a few inches below the soil.

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LocationCoordinatesZoomRelevanceShow on map
Mexico
23°N 102°W
1
0.365
No
Ireland
53°N 8°W
1
0.742
Yes
Scotland, United Kingdom
56°N 4°W
1
0.389
No
United States
39.76°N 98.5°W
1
0.377
No
Australia
25°S 135°E
1
0.366
No
Canada
60.1087°N 113.643°W
1
0.351
No
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Robot discovered
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Mon 2014-Jan-13 00:30
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Discovery method: 
Robot discovered
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Tue 2014-Jan-14 00:40
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160 Years Later, Scientists Grow a GM Potato That Could Have Prevented the Irish Potato Famine | Smart News | Smithsonian
Original text (summary): 

From 1845 to 1852, the Great Hunger devastated Ireland and Scotland. A widespread outbreak of potato blight wiped out the potato crop, killing more than a million Irish people, and sending many Irish and Scots emigrating to new lands, largely Australia, Canada and the United States.

Digital History:

A few days after potatoes were dug from the ground, they began to turn into a slimy, decaying, blackish "mass of rottenness." Expert panels convened to investigate the blight's cause suggested that it was the result of "static electricity" or the smoke that billowed from railroad locomotives or the "mortiferous vapours" rising from underground volcanoes. In fact, the cause was a fungus that had traveled from Mexico to Ireland. "Famine fever"--cholera, dysentery, scurvy, typhus, and infestations of lice--soon spread through the Irish countryside. Observers reported seeing children crying with pain and looking "like skeletons, their features sharpened with hunger and their limbs wasted, so that there was little left but bones." Masses of bodies were buried without coffins, a few inches below the soil.