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Letter to the Editor

Nomenclature for Pathogenicity and Virulence: The Need for Precision. D. Andrivon. INRA, Plant Pathology Station, Domaine de la Motte, BP 29, F-35650 Le Rheu, France. Phytopathology 83:889-890. Accepted for publication 19 May 1993. Copyright 1993 The American Phytopathological Society. doi:10.1094/Phyto-83-889.

In a recent review, Shaner et al (9) considered the different meanings of terms related to pathogenicity as used in plant pathology literature and stressed the need for common designations of basic concepts. They proposed that avirulence and aggressiveness should be abandoned and replaced by nonpathogenicity and parasitic fitness, respectively. They also suggested a dichotomous hierarchy of terms describing pathogenicity, composed of virulence on one side and parasitic fitness on the other. The latter component was split further into specific pathogenicity and reproductive fitness. Finally, a quantitative meaning for virulence was proposed. Unfortunately, and as recognized by the authors themselves, no explicit definitions of these suggested designations are given, although the introductory sentence of the review rightly states that "precision of names given to concepts, structures and phenomena is indispensable to communication in science" (9).