Research uncovers 'stealth' tactic of plant diseases

New research led by the University of Warwick has found that some plant diseases use "stealth bomber" tactics to evade a plant's immune defences.

The research was funded by various bodies, including the UK's Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council, and involved the sequencing of a genome of the plant disease Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis, which can only survive on its host, the model plant Arabiopsidis.

Professor Benyon of the University of Warwick said: "H. arabidopsidis is one of the stealth bombers of the world of plant pathogens and we can see much of how it has actually slimmed down some key elements of its genetic material in order to get around the plant's natural defences - essentially by stealth."

He added: "Understanding how these proteins suppress plant immunity will enable us to select disease-resistant crop plants and combat diseases such as potato blight and sudden oak death."


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