The puzzle of nonhost resistance: why do pathogens harm some plants but not others?

People have puzzled for years why pathogen Phytophthora infestens causes the devastating late blight disease, source of the Irish Potato famine, on potatoes, but has no effect at all on plants like apple or cucumber. How are apple trees and cucumber plants able to completely shake off this devastating pathogen? Agricultural scientists have wondered for years: if this resistance is so complete and persists over so many generations, is there some way we could transfer it to susceptible plants like wheat and thereby stop disease?
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