Mini Review Discussion

Today we had an in class discussion/presentation that our OUTPACEr’s conducted! Six questions were asked and each group presented their answer to the question.

#1 A plant can win a season by achieving either ETI or MTI. Biologically speaking, what is happening in a real plant out in a real field with it “wins” against a potential pathogen?


Ryan and Ciara explained how a plant detects a pathogen and what happens after the plant has detected their is a potential danger. They also explained how some defenses that a plant has can lead to immunity from the pathogen.

#2 In light of #1 about, what are 2 underlying mechanisms by which a pathogen can “win”?


Chris and Jonathan explained how pathogens “win” by first invading the plants preformed defenses – including waxy cuticle, or cell wall. Then they explained the second BIG way a pathogen can with is through effector triggered susceptibility (ETS). ETS disables the plants defenses therefore leading the pathogen on it’s way to victory!

#3 If a plant cultivar can detect the presence of a potential pathogen, it is normally resistant to attack by that microbe. What kind of selective pressure does this exert on the pathogen population, and how, specifically, is the pathogen population likely to change in response?

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Jakara drew a picture of what is happening with the plant and pathogen. She showed how it is a constant cycle of pathogen infection and plant resistance. Rajan and Nicole explained how pathogens and plants are consistently mutating in order to win. The selective pressure is to change in order to win.

#4 There is evidence in pathogen genomes that shows the mutation and loss of genes that code for specific effectors. But if effectors are lost, a bacterial pathogen needs to acquire a new effector to suppress the plant’s immune (defense) response. How does this happen?

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Jeremiah and Iba explained the concept of Horizontal Gene Transfer.They showed how genes can be transferred via transposons and explained the process of it.

#5 How do plants acquire a new resistance gene, whose protein product can recognize a new pathogen molecule (such as a new effector)?

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Amir and Andrew explained that this can happen through sexual reproduction, vector mediated gene tranfer, cross pollination, microprojectile gene transfer, and in agriculture via plant breeders.

#6 In terms of evolution, how is a farmer’s field different from the natural world, and how might that affect pathogen evolution?

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Jess and Ashley explained that a farmer’s field is different in many ways. They explained that the field is predictable and the concept of “boom and bust.” They also explained how farmers plant their crops in a monoculture leading to all plants in the area having the same genetic makeup, which is not like in the natural world.


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