Plants, pathogens engage in trench warfare

Researchers at the University of Chicago have gained new insight into the co-evolution of plants and the microbes that attack them. In the August 12 issue of Nature, the researchers report findings that go against the widely held 'arms race' theory in which plant resistance genes fight brief battles with microbes before both plant and pathogen mutate to higher and higher levels of resistance and virulence.

Joy Bergelson, assistant professor of ecology & evolution at the University of Chicago, favors an alternative hypothesis she calls 'trench warfare', in which cycles of disease epidemics maintain relatively stable forms of resistance and susceptibility genes over long periods of time.

"The arms race theory has been a generally accepted model for the evolution of disease resistance genes because it is intuitive, but its never been scientifically tested" says Bergelson. "Our results were surprising in demonstrating that an arms race is not occurring for the resistance gene we studied."

The researchers focused on the Rpm1 gene in Arabidopsis, the common mustard plant. Rpm1 is either present or absent in a given plant. These two alternative states are called the gene's alleles, which are located at a specific spot on the DNA called the gene locus. The Rpm1 allele confers resistance to certain pathogens. When it is absent at the Rpm1 locus (the null allele) the plant is susceptible to pathogenic attack.

To understand the evolutionary dynamics of the Rpm1 resistance gene, Bergelson and colleagues looked at the number of base pair differences in the DNA surrounding the Rpm1 gene locus. Base pair differences, also known as polymorphisms, accumulate over long periods of evolutionary time, and serve as a kind of molecular clock that gives researchers clues as to the age of alleles. The more polymorphisms, the older the alleles.

Bergelson's new analysis found that the number of polymorphisms was much higher than would be predicted by the arm

Contact: Sharon Parmet
University of Chicago Medical Center

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Plants, insects play cat and mouse game
2. K-State uses geographic tools to track plant pathogens
3. Symposium focuses on unique challenges of environmental pathogens
4. Marine pathogens spread much faster than their terrestrial counterparts
5. New class of antibiotics stops pathogens in their genetic tracks
6. Pandoras box of pathogens
7. Gene clustering helps rice plants fight pathogens
8. Real-time detection of pathogens in the environment: How close are we?
9. Study sheds light on Chlamydial pathogens
10. New DNA chip rapidly detects, identifies dangerous pathogens
11. New UGA study demonstrates bacterial pathogens use hydrogen as energy source in animals

Post Your Comments:

(Date:8/26/2020)... SOMERSET, N.J. (PRWEB) , ... August 25, 2020 ... ... technologies, development, and manufacturing solutions for drugs, biologics, cell and gene therapies, and ... the upcoming 16th Annual PEGS Boston Virtual Conference & Expo, taking place between ...
(Date:8/21/2020)... ... August 19, 2020 , ... The 19th Annual Bio-IT ... data science, informatics and IT leaders goes VIRTUAL and announces its updated event ... change, Bio-IT takes the leadership role of keeping our life science community connected ...
(Date:8/7/2020)... ... August 06, 2020 , ... Nine middle school ... STEM Scholar Program, a unique professional development program that provides advanced STEM (science, ... school science teachers nationwide. , Created in partnership between the National Stem Cell ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/12/2020)... ... 11, 2020 , ... The FSHD Society announced today that ... Clinical Trial Research Network (FSHD CTRN), with consideration of follow-on funding of ... academic research centers in the United States and Europe with expertise in FSHD ...
(Date:8/3/2020)... , ... August 03, 2020 , ... Introducing Ardent Animal ... transformative growth, , Known as MediVet Biologics since its formation ... The new Ardent Animal Health will build on its base of innovative ...
(Date:7/31/2020)... , ... July 29, 2020 , ... ... Catalent, the leading global provider of advanced delivery technologies, development, and manufacturing solutions ... that they have entered into a strategic partnership whereby Catalent will provide support ...
(Date:7/18/2020)... ... ... After research model surgery and catheter implantation, the long journey of catheter maintenance ... a successful study, while protecting and accessing the catheter or device post-surgery is often ... Envigo in a live webinar on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: