Finding New Ways to Fight Plant Diseases

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Science  22 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5525, pp. 2270-2273
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5525.2270

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Many plant pathogens and the insects that often spread them are exploding worldwide as they overcome the pesticides, agricultural practices, and biocontrols that once held them in check. At the same time, some effective chemicals are being banned because of environmental concerns. And efficient global travel is spreading viral, bacterial, and fungal plant pathogens into new areas, while global warming is allowing insect vectors to expand their ranges. Researchers therefore must continually search for better ways to protect plants against infectious diseases, using everything from high-tech genomics and genetic engineering to new agronomic practices aimed at disrupting plant-pest interactions.