research highlights PHYTOPATHOLOGY eLife 6, e30925 (2017) causative agent for the leafy gall disease that affects plant growth and development. The researchers started with a genomic epidemiology approach by collecting many bacterial isolates from nurseries, for which they obtained genome and plasmid sequences. They realized that bacteria lacking one plasmid that contains three virulence genes are beneficial for their host, as they enhance root architecture. On the other hand, the acquisition of this plasmid is the only change necessary for beneficial bacteria to become pathogenic and cause disease, regardless of its genomic background. This type of horizontal gene transfer may happen frequently in Inga Spence/Alamy Stock Photo agricultural settings. The consequences of this research Microbes have a bad reputation. However, go beyond the discoveries about sudden one of the most profound discoveries evolutionary transitions. The authors in biology over the past decades is the also developed a more accurate method realization that microorganisms have a to diagnose the presence of Rhodococcus tremendous influence, often positive, on the in commercial pistachio orchards, and animals and plants they closely associate to discriminate between beneficial and with. Microbes can be commensal, beneficial pathogenic bacteria. In a strongly worded or pathogenic for the host. These categories discussion that criticizes previously were thought to be quite different in terms published results, the authors mention of genomic sequences, and relatively easy that this could help to avoid potential to classify. However, a team of researchers misdiagnoses that may have already caused led by Jeff Chang now demonstrates that a the unfortunate felling of entire orchards. beneficial microorganism can easily switch to pathogenic with the acquisition of a Guillaume Tena single plasmid. Rhodococcus is a genus of bacteria that Published online: 1 January 2018 associates with many plants, and is the https://doi.org/10.1038/s41477-017-0093-6 NATuRe PLANT s | VOL 4 | JANUARY 2018 | 8 | www.nature.com/natureplants © 2018 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved. © 2018 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.
Nature Plants – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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