Saturday, January 22, 2005

If They Mated

As reported by, scientists are now suggesting that there may be two or even three strains of the organism that causes "sudden oak death" (Phytophthora ramosum). There is some concern over the possible consequences if the strains come into contact with each other and engage in sexual reproduction. Some researchers are suggesting the U.S. needs stricter quarantines on host plants, including relegating the shipment of nursery stock to the transport of seeds and cell cultures.

As I learned from one of my students last fall, the pathogen that causes SOD is not a true fungus as was once implied, and the "death" that results when a plant is infected with the pathogen is neither sudden not directly caused by the infection. So I'd like to suggest a new common name: "Oak Infection Leading Eventually to Death" or "OILED" for short. :-)

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