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Letter to the Editor

Comment on the Letter by AndrivonóRe: Pathogenicity and Virulence. R. S. Hunt. Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre, 506 West Burnside Road, Victoria, B.C. V8Z 1M5, Canada. Phytopathology 84:874-875. Accepted for publication 12 July 1994. Copyright 1994 The American Phytopathological Society. doi:10.1094/Phyto-84-874.

De Bary is usually considered the father of modern plant pathology, having produced over 60 prominent students (6), and there was a time when many plant pathologists could trace their academic lineage to him (5). The few who could not had to survive in a plant-pathology world dominated by the offspring of De Bary, so they readily learned the lexicon of De Bary's students. However, since the advent of biotechnology, there has been an influx of scientists working in plant pathology who cannot trace their roots to this proud lineage and who are so numerous that they can now submit a paper to a plant pathology journal and have it reviewed solely by their peers. Thus, there are condoned transgressions of classic phytopathological definitions, simply because the followers of the De Bary school of thought are omitted from the review process. I believe, for the sake of effective communication, that we should attempt to stick with the definitions of terms and understanding of concepts that originated deep within our academic family tree. Even if a majority within our society agree that a long-standing term should be modified, we should bear in mind the possibility of confusing future generations with terminology rooted on shifting sands. A change in terminology should be based on consistent argument, should be professionally documented, and should provide a link between past and future.