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Wasternack, C A plant's balance of growth and defense – revisited. New Phytol 215, 1291-1294, (2017) DOI: 10.1111/nph.14720

The sessile lifestyle of plants requires a permanent and efficient adjustment to environmental stresses caused by biotic factors, such as pathogens and herbivores, or abiotic factors, such as drought and salt. Any defense responses, however, are costly, and investment into defense leads to reduced growth. These plant growth–defense tradeoffs, with simultaneous activation of defense and maintenance of growth, are critical for crop breeding. For some stresses, such as wounding by herbivores, the cost–benefit ratio in the growth–defense tradeoff has been tested in native populations; a costly jasmonic acid (JA)-induced defense response has been shown, which is down-regulated when the defense is not required (Baldwin, 1998). JA is the central player in many stress responses: inhibition of root growth, photosynthesis, and leaf growth (Zhang & Turner, 2008), induction of defense proteins, formation of secondary compounds active in defense and defense upon bacterial infection are JA-induced processes with consequences for growth (Wasternack & Hause, 2013; reviewed in Havko et al., 2016).
This article is a Commentary on Major et al., 215: 1533–1547.
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