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One of the most intriguing challenges for plant biologists is to understand how plants interact with microbial pathogens to result in resistance or disease. Research in the Leach lab has tackled this challenge from both the plant and pathogen sides by integrating physiological, molecular, genomic and genetic approaches performed in the laboratory and field. Our goals are to identify sources of long-lasting, broad-spectrum disease resistance (effective against diverse pathogens), allowing for the development of ecologically sustainable forms of plant disease control. In recent years, we have begun to uncover the genetic basis of other complex traits in rice, such as those contributing to biomass and benefiting human health.

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