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Annu Rev Phytopathol. 2010;48:293-309. doi: 10.1146/annurev-phyto-080508-081919.

Plant pathology: a story about biology.

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Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Disease is a universal feature of life for multicellular organisms, and the study of disease has contributed to the establishment of key concepts in the biological sciences. This implies strong connections between plant pathology and basic biology, something that could perhaps be made more apparent to undergraduate students interested in the life sciences. To that end, we present an instructional narrative that begins with a simple question: Why are there diseases? Responses and follow-up questions can facilitate exploration of such topics as the evolution of parasitism, plant adaptations to parasitism, impacts of parasites on native plant communities, and ways in which human intervention can foster the emergence of aggressive plant pathogens. This approach may help to attract students who would not have found their way to plant pathology through traditional pathways. Packaging the narrative as a game may render it more interesting and accessible, particularly to a younger audience.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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