The findings reported online in the journal PLOS Pathogens may help increase the health and productivity of rice, the staple food of half of the world's population."Our results demonstrate that disease resistance in rice and possibly related crop species could very likely be enhanced by transferring genes responsible for specific immune receptors from dicotyledonous plants into rice, which is a monocotyledonous crop," said lead author Benjamin Schwessinger, post-doctoral scholar at the University of California, Davis.

Receptors are specialised proteins that can recognise molecular patterns associated with disease-causing microbes, including bacteria and fungi, at the beginning of an infection.These receptors are found on the surface of plant cells, where they play a key role in the plant's early warning system.Some of the receptors, however, occur only in certain groups of plant species.

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