Can the Strategic Use of Disease Resistant Hosts Protect Their Inherent Durability?

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Summary

Plant cultivars with durable resistance to disease have emerged as a result of plant breeding and extensive selection under monoculture over several decades. However, continued use of few of these cultivars in large-scale monoculture also represents the greatest potential danger for selection of pathogen races able to overcome the resistance. For this reason, it is essential to consider methods for protecting the resistances from such selection. Various options exist at different levels from the breeding programme, to the field, the farm and the region. The basic principle underlying all of these strategies is that of diversification of resistance and limitation of their exposure to the pathogen. This has the further potential advantage that resistances with levels of durability that may be considered inadequate individually under large-scale exposure in monoculture, may still play a useful, long-term role in agriculture.