I’ve blogged about ProMED before a couple of times. It’s advertised as a “global electronic reporting system for outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases & toxins.” But it is actually a bit more than that, as a recent piece on cassava brown streak disease revealed. There have recently been some stories in the Ugandan popular press about this disease. And one of the early ones made it to ProMED. That’s useful enough, but it also elicited a reply from Prof. Mark Laing of the School of Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology and Plant Pathology, University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. He noted that “that there is hope on the horizon versus both cassava mosaic disease (CMD) and cassava brown streak virus (CBSV)” and quoted a couple of breeding programmes that are having some success. That’s really how you want an early warning system to work. It should not only give warning of the problem, but also get people to discuss possible solutions. It doesn’t seem all that complicated to set up. Is it too much to hope for that there’ll be something along these lines for genetic erosion before I crawl away to my well-earned retirement?