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How plants can tell friend from foe

A plant’s immune system can recognize whether a piece of RNA is an invader or not based on whether the RNA has a threaded bead-like structure at the end, say University of Tokyo researchers. Their finding provides an answer to the quarter-century-old question of why RNAs belonging to the plant escape its self-defence mechanism, paving the way for future biotechnological techniques to modify crops. Our immune system protects us from diseases and infections by fighting off viruses and other foreign substances. Plants…