Various conceptual models to describe the plant immune system have been presented. The most recent paradigm to gain wide acceptance in the field is often referred to as the zigzag model, which reconciles the previously formulated gene-for-gene hypothesis with the recognition of general elicitors in a single model. This review focuses on the limitations of the current paradigm of molecular plant-microbe interactions and how it too narrowly defines the plant immune system. As such, we discuss an alternative view of plant innate immunity as a system that evolves to detect invasion. This view accommodates the range from mutualistic to parasitic symbioses that plants form with diverse organisms, as well as the spectrum of ligands that the plant immune system perceives. Finally, how this view can contribute to the current practice of resistance breeding is discussed.


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