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[Perspective] Durable resistance to rice blast

The blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae (Pyricularia oryzae) destroys rice crops worldwide (see the photo) (1) and now threatens global wheat production as well. Wheat blast disease has been spreading in South America since 1985, and last year it devastated wheat crops in Bangladesh (2, 3). Incorporation of resistance (R) genes into rice presents an effective, economical, and environmentally sound way to control blast (4). However, it takes years to move an R gene into a rice variety, whereas the highly variable fungus can overcome the R gene effects within 2…

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