The rate of32P incorporation into RNA fractions of flax cotyledons (Linum usitatissimum L. var. Bison) was found to increase two- to three-fold by 48h after inoculation with flax rust [Melampsora lini (Pers.) Lev., race no. 3]. This was accompanied by a change in the nucleotide composition of the newly transcribed sodium chloride-soluble RNA fraction. A comparison of the nucleotide composition of the RNA synthesized in the host–parasite complex at different stages of development indicated the preferential synthesis of one or more molecular species of RNA with a high A+U/G+C ratio at a relatively early stage of infection. Treatment of healthy plants with indol-3-ylacetic acid also resulted in a substantial stimulation in the rate of32P incorporation into RNA but this was not accompanied by a detectable change in the nucleotide ratios of the newly synthesized RNA. These results suggest that the synthesis of one of more additional RNA species or the augmented synthesis of certain species of RNA may be a specific phenomenon elicited by host–pathogen interaction.

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