Plant health emergencies demand open science: Tackling a cereal killer on the run
Plos Biology

Authors: Sophien Kamoun , Nicholas J. Talbot, M. Tofazzal Islam

Outbreaks of emerging plant diseases and insect pests are increasing at an alarming rate threatening the food security needs of a booming world population. The role of plant pathologists in addressing these threats to plant health is critical. Here, we share our personal experience with the appearance in Bangladesh of a destructive new fungal disease called wheat blast and stress the importance of open-science platforms and crowdsourced community responses in tackling emerging plant diseases. Benefits of the open-science approach include recruitment of multidisciplinary experts, application of cutting-edge methods, and timely replication of data analyses to increase the robustness of the findings. Based on our experiences, we provide some general recommendations and practical guidance for responding to emerging plant diseases.