I just received a very thoughtful email from one of our fellow students, Maggie McCormack. Please feel free to post your comments to her questions and we will discuss this very important aspect tomorrow!
“Hi Dr. Mukhtar,
I’ve been thinking about yesterday’s lecture and I had a few questions.
I remember from your plant biology class and from working in the lab that seeds require a cold period to induce germination. In lecture you mentioned that many pathogenic bacteria do not survive cold temperatures. Could the plant’s need for cold weather before germination be a kind of preemptive defense mechanism (ie. if they wait for a period of cold, it ensures that the soil and surrounding area is sterilized and they have a better chance of growing before being attacked by bacteria)?
I’m also curious about the systemic required resistance. Does this signal occur only within the host plant or can a plant signal nearby plants as well? It seems especially useful for plants such as grasses that propagate through runners. If a plant like that became infected, wouldn’t it put all the plants connected to it at risk as well?
I’m really enjoying this experience–thank you so much for letting me be a part of it!”