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Data from: Parents lend a helping hand to their offspring in plant defence

Cite this dataset

Walters, Dale; Paterson, Linda (2012). Data from: Parents lend a helping hand to their offspring in plant defence [Dataset]. Dryad.


Plants under attack by pathogens and pests can mount a range of inducible defences, encompassing both chemical and structural changes. Although few reports exist, it appears that plants responding to pathogen or herbivore attack, or chemical defence elicitors, may produce progeny which are better able to defend themselves against attack, compared to progeny from unthreatened or untreated plants. To date, all research on transgenerational effects of biotic stress have been conducted on dicotyledenous plants. We examined the possibility that resistance induced by application of chemical defence elicitors to the monocot plant barley, could be passed on to the progeny. Plants were treated with acibenzolar-S-methyl (ASM) or saccharin, and grain harvested at maturity. Germination was unaffected in seed collected from plants treated with saccharin, while germination was reduced significantly in seed collected from ASM-treated plants. The subsequent growth of the seedlings was not significantly different in any of the treatments. However, plants from parents treated with ASM or saccharin both exhibited significantly enhanced resistance to infection by Rhynchosporium commune, despite not being treated with elicitor themselves. These data hint at the possibility of producing disease-resistant plants by exposing parent plants to chemical elicitors.

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