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International Late Blight Networks - a successful collaborative initiative

Huub Schepers: Wageningen University & Research

<div>EuroBlight, a European network of scientists, advisors and representatives from agrochemical and potato breeding companies meets every 2<sup>nd</sup> year (<a href=""></a>) to coordinate and discuss late blight research. During the workshops, research results are shared and current challenges and opportunities for late blight control are identified. EuroBlight is organized in working groups that are active in between the workshops. Key activities are: i) monitoring of late blight SSR based genotypes across Europe ii) maintenance and updating of the EuroBlight fungicide table based on coordinated fungicide efficacy trials and iii) development of late blight decision support systems. Data and web tools are managed by a Potato Late Blight Toolbox that controls databases and the generation of interactive map tools and charts available on the EuroBlight web site. The recognised success of EuroBlight has inspired the creation of other international late blight networks, notably USABlight (<a href=""></a>), Tizón Latino in Latin America (<a href=""></a>) and more recently AsiaBlight. Collaboration between these networks through joint research and information sharing makes it possible to improve control of late blight on a global scale. One important aspect for collaboration has been the harmonization of protocols for determining the genotype of <em>Phytophthora infestans</em> isolates and linking this to phenotype, allowing an improved understanding of the pathogen population worldwide. The network of networks can be used to generate the global genetic landscape of <em>P. infestans</em>, understand drivers for spread and evolution and to develop DSSs adapted to regional conditions, including production of training and extension material for (small holder) farmers in potato growing regions world-wide.</div>

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