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Priming plant defences has heritable benefits

Two research projects conducted by current and former members of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) in Plant Survival have shown that priming a plant’s defences also increases disease or pest resistance in its descendants. In one study, researchers from the Swiss University of Neuchatel treated thale cress plants with either β-amino-butyric acid or an avirulent isolate of Pseudomonas spp bacteria to prime defence responses. Both substances are harmless to the environment and are simple to apply, the researchers note. The descendants of primed plants reacted more quickly and strongly when challenged with a mildew vector and pathogenic bacteria. Transcription rates of defence-related genes were also increased more rapidly.


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