PPPodcast11 - PPPodcast Week 11 Welcome to the PPPodcast...

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PPPodcast: Week 11 Welcome to the PPPodcast for Week 11. This week’s Major Concept is VECTORS. Just what are vectors and what role do they play in plant pathology? In Plant Pathology 200 we use the term “vector” in two different ways. When we discussed genetic modification of plants we defined a vector as a small, self-replicating DNA molecule, such as a plasmid or virus that is used to introduce a fragment of foreign DNA into a host cell. Throughout the course, however, you will come across the word “vector” in another context. Any living organism - including insects, animals, fungi, nematodes and even a human being - that is able to transmit a pathogen and thereby disseminate a disease is called a vector. Vectors can have different kinds of relationships with the pathogens that they spread. Some vectors simply become accidentally contaminated with a pathogen during the course of their daily activities. For example, bees and many other insects come into contact with the Erwinia amylova bacteria that cause fire blight while they feed on apple and pear flowers. The sticky bacterial cells adhere to the insects’ bodies until they rub off on another surface, perhaps the flower of another apple or pear tree, thus transmitting the disease. In this case, there are over a
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