The complex biological phenomenon “resistance” can be reduced to single Mendelian traits acting on both the plant and the pathogen side in a number of pathosystems. According to the “gene-for-gene hypothesis”, the outcome of a plant/pathogen interaction in these cases is incompatibility if a plant carrying a particular resistance gene and a pathogen with the complementary avirulence gene meet. This suggests a causal role of resistance genes in a recognition process initiating active plant defense responses. Fundamentally different strategies are followed to identify these genes molecularly depending on the plant and pathogen species involved. Fungal diseases of crop plants, especially those of cereals, cause dramatic yield losses worldwide. It is assumed that a molecular characterization of plant genes conferring resistance to fungal pathogens will lead to a better understanding of the plant defense system in general permitting the development of new methods of crop plant protection.
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