Plant Immunity

Volume 30 Issue 2 | February 2016

Cover Story

Holding Their Ground

By Amanda B. Keener | February 1, 2016

To protect the global food supply, scientists want to understand—and enhance—plants’ natural resistance to pathogens.

Featured Articles

image: Antibody Alternatives

Antibody Alternatives

By Jane McLeod and Paul Ko Ferrigno | February 1, 2016

Nucleic acid aptamers and protein scaffolds could change the way researchers study biological processes and treat disease.

image: The Mycobiome

The Mycobiome

By Mahmoud Ghannoum | February 1, 2016

The largely overlooked resident fungal community plays a critical role in human health and disease.




Meet some of the people featured in the February 2016 issue of The Scientist.


Fighting Back

Plants can’t run away from attackers, so they’ve evolved unique immune defenses to protect themselves.

Speaking of Science

Speaking of Science

February 2016's selection of notable quotes


Giraffe Diplomacy

Is the public dissection of zoo animals a boon to research and education, a PR nightmare, or both?


A synthetic interview with the father of evolutionary theory, now available as a smartphone app, teaches students and the public about the famed biologist.

Keep Off the Grass

Ecologists focused on grasslands urge policymakers to keep forestation efforts in check.

Life After Sequencing

Fifteen years after publication of the human genome’s first draft sequence, what has become of the hundreds of researchers who worked on the project?

Critic at Large

Scientific Literacy Redefined

Researchers could become better at engaging in public discourse by more fully considering the social and cultural contexts of their work.

Modus Operandi

Gene Editing Without Foreign DNA

Scientists perform plant-genome modifications on crops without using plasmids.

The Literature

Fungal Security Force

In yew trees, Taxol-producing fungi function as an immune system to ward off pathogens.

Hydropowered Pollen

A tension-sensing ion channel regulates hydration and germination in pollen.

Hormone Hangover

Medication to prevent prematurity in humans harms cognitive flexibility in rats.


Putting Down Roots

A survivor and a pioneer, Natasha Raikhel emigrated to the U.S. from Soviet Russia and made a career of studying protein trafficking in plants.

Scientist to Watch

Jason Holliday: Tree Tracker

Associate Professor, Virginia Tech, Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. Age: 37

Lab Tools

Marriages of Opportunity

New ideas for antibody-drug conjugate design

Exercises for Your Abs

Companies make the antibodies, but it’s up to you to make sure they work in your experiments.


Getting the Word Out

In a shifting media landscape with a growing public interest in science, some researchers are doing their own PR.

Reading Frames

Mind and Matter

Research suggests that a combination of mental power and conventional medicine may be better than either alone.

Capsule Reviews

Capsule Reviews

What Should a Clever Moose Eat?, The Illusion of God's Presence, GMO Sapiens, and Why We Snap


Mendel in the Hot Seat, 1902

Raphael Weldon’s critiques of Mendelian principles were 100 years ahead of his time.

Popular Now

  1. Prominent Salk Institute Scientist Inder Verma Resigns
  2. Anheuser-Busch Won’t Fund Controversial NIH Alcohol Study
  3. North American Universities Increasingly Cancel Publisher Packages
  4. “Public” T-Cell Receptors From Resistant People Fend Off HIV