In this review, I recount my personal history. My drive to study host-pathogen interactions was to find alternatives for agrochemicals, which was triggered after reading the book “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson. I reflect on my research at the Laboratory of Phytopathology at Wageningen University, where I have worked for my entire career on the interaction between and tomato, and related gene-for-gene pathosystems. I describe different methods used to identify and sequence avirulence () genes from the pathogen and resistance () genes from the host. The major genes involved in classical gene-for-gene interactions have now been identified, and breeders can produce plants with multiple genes providing durable and environmentally safe protection against pathogens. In some cases, this might require the use of genetically modified plants when genes cannot be introduced by classical breeding.


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