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Arabidopsis plants in their natural environment are susceptible to infection by oomycete pathogens, in particular to downy mildew and white rust diseases. These naturally occurring infectious agents have imposed evolutionary pressures on Arabidopsis populations and are therefore highly relevant for the study of host-pathogen co-evolution. In addition, the study of oomycete diseases, including infections caused by several Phytophthora species, has led to many scientific discoveries on Arabidopsis immunity and disease. Herein, we describe the major oomycete species used for experiments on Arabidopsis, and how these pathosystems have been used to provide significant insights into mechanistic and evolutionary aspects of plant-oomycete interactions. We also highlight understudied aspects of plant-oomycete interactions, as well as translational approaches, that can be productively addressed using the reference pathosystems described in this article.
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