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Mirren takes on olive killer in new animation

Screenshot from animation, showing a 'space invader' graphic hovering over a line of trees and plants

BBSRC-funded John Innes Centre has recruited Oscar-winning actress Dame Helen to voice an animation to educate the public of the consequences of the plant disease Xylella fastidiosa.

The pathogen has caused great destruction to olive crops across Europe and the John Innes Centre – the independent, international centre of excellence in plant science, genetics and microbiology – is at the forefront of efforts to keep the disease out of the UK.

The four-minute animation informs viewers the public about the insect-borne disease, the symptoms to look out for, and the risks of bringing plants back from abroad. Helen Mirren has witnessed first-hand the impact of the disease on businesses and communities in Puglia, Italy and has previously urged gardeners to purchase plants sourced or grown in the UK.

Dame Helen Mirren said: “Xylella is a dreadful plant disease that has devastated businesses, communities and entire landscapes. Understanding what you can do to help keep it out of the UK is an important first step in protecting our precious plants for the future.”

It has been launched by BRIGIT, a consortium of 12 universities and research institutes led by the John Innes Centre and including the RHS and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

Gerard Clover, Impact and Engagement Manager, BRIGIT said: “Government and industry have long warned of the threat to our landscape and economy from Xylella but we shouldn’t be complacent. The disease continues to spread within Europe causing more than a billion euros worth of damage and gardeners must be vigilant and report changes in the health of plants in their gardens.”

Watch the animation and learn more at the JIC website.

ENDS

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BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

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Tags: news xylella food security BRIGIT John Innes Centre Helen Mirren