Many destructive crop diseases are caused by filamentous microbes from the kingdoms Fungi (e.g., ascomycetes and basidomycetes) and Stramenopila (oomycetes). Many of these pathogens exploit plants by extracting nutrients from living plant cells (biotrophy) (1). In some cases, biotrophic pathogens have evolved to a state of absolute dependency on their hosts. These obligate biotrophs have lost the capacity for saprotrophic growth, display narrow host specificity, and are difficult or impossible to culture on synthetic media (2). When viewed from an interfacial perspective, these lineages provide fascinating case studies of how microbes can evolve to occupy highly specialized niches inside hostile...
Natural Sciences in General