In this episode, Kevin talks with Pamela Ronald, professor of plant pathology at the University of California, Davis. Almost 20 years ago, Ronald discovered Xa21, a plant pattern recognition receptor that guards against bacterial infection. This receptor shares many features with Toll-like receptors, and the role of Xa21 was shown a year before TLRs were implicated in immunity.
We also talk about recent work from Ronald's lab, in which bananas, a staple crop for millions of people in Africa, are genetically engineered to express Xa21 in order to protect them from a devastating bacterial infection.
Pamela Ronald's home on the internet
One of Kevin's Screeds about GMO's (there are many more - just ask!)