Climate change is making plants more vulnerable to disease. New research could help them fight back

When heat waves hit, they don’t just take a toll on people — plants suffer too. That’s because when temperatures rise, certain plant defenses don’t work as well, leaving them more susceptible to attacks from pathogens and pests. Scientists say they have identified a specific protein in plant cells that explains why immunity falters as the mercury rises. They’ve also figured out a way to bolster plant defenses against the heat.When heat waves hit, they don’t just take a toll on people — plants suffer too. That’s because when temperatures rise, certain plant defenses don’t work as well, leaving them more susceptible to attacks from pathogens and pests. Scientists say they have identified a specific protein in plant cells that explains why immunity falters as the mercury rises. They’ve also figured out a way to bolster plant defenses against the heat.

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