Epichloë and The Affair (novel)

Epichloë species and their close relatives, the Neotyphodium species, are systemic and constitutive symbionts of cool-season grasses (Poaceae subfamily Pooideae), and belong to the fungal family Clavicipitaceae. Among the Clavicipitaceae, many species are specialized to form and maintain systemic, constitutive (long-term) symbioses with plants, often with limited or no disease incurred on the host. The best-studied of these symbionts are associated with the grasses and sedges, in which they infect the leaves and other aerial tissues by growing between the plant cells (endophytic growth) or on the surface above or beneath the cuticle (epiphytic growth). An individual infected plant will generally bear only a single genetic individual clavicipitaceous symbiont, so the plant-fungus system constitutes a genetic unit called a symbiotum (pl. symbiota).

Symptoms and signs of the fungal infection, if manifested at all, only occur on a specific tissue or site of the host tiller, where the fungal stroma or sclerotium emerges. The stroma (pl. stromata) is a mycelial cushion that gives rise first to asexual spores (conidia), then to the sexual fruiting bodies (ascocarps; perithecia). Sclerotia are hard resting structures that later (after incubation on the ground) germinate to form stipate stromata. Depending on the fungus species, the host tissues on which stromata or sclerotia are produced may be young inflorescences and surrounding leaves, individual florets, nodes, or small segments of the leaves. Young stromata are hyaline (colorless), and as they mature they turn dark gray, black, or yellow-orange. Mature stromata eject meiotically derived spores (ascospores), which are ejected into the atmosphere and initiate new plant infections (horizontal transmission). In some cases no stroma or sclerotium is produced, but the fungus infects seeds produced by the infected plant, and is thereby transmitted vertically to the next host generation. Most Epichloë species and all of their asexual derivatives, the Neotyphodium species, can vertically transmit.

Neotyphodium species (with the likely exception of N. chilense) are closely related to teleomorphic species of the genus Epichloë, from which many have evolved by processes involving interspecific hybridization. Molecular phylogenetic evidence demonstrates that asexual Neotyphodium species are derived either from individual Epichloë species, or more commonly, from hybrids with at least two ancestral Epichloë species. Like the Neotyphodium species, many species in Epichloë produce biologically active alkaloids, such as ergot alkaloids, indole-diterpenoids (e.g., lolitrem B), loline alkaloids, and the unusual guanidinium alkaloid, peramine. Because of their close relationships and shared biological properties, members of these two genera are collectively called epichloae (singular = epichloë). Species Epichloë amarillans Epichloë baconii Epichloë brachyelytri Epichloë bromicola Epichloë clarkii Epichloë elymi Epichloë festucae Epichloë glyceriae Epichloë sylvatica Epichloë typhina Epichloë yangzii

The Affair (novel) and Epichloë

The Affair is the sixteenth book in the Jack Reacher series written by Lee Child but is a prequel set chronologically before most of them. It was published on 29 September 2011 in the United Kingdom and was published on 27 September 2011 in the USA. The Affair is a prequel set six months before Child's first novel, Killing Floor and setting out the explosive circumstances under which Reacher's career in the United States Army was terminated. Plot

March 1997. Six months before the events of Killing Floor. Jack Reacher is still in the Army. And there's big trouble at Carter's Crossing, a small town in Mississippi where a soldier's girlfriend is found with her throat cut from ear to ear. Local trouble? Or is the killer from nearby Fort Kelham, a giant base used by elite Army Rangers?

Reacher's orders are: go undercover, keep your distance, monitor the investigation, and then vanish. But he finds it difficult to follow these instructions to the letter. Finding unexpected layers to the case, Reacher works to uncover the truth, while others try to bury it forever. The conspiracy threatens to shatter his faith in his mission—and turn him into a man to be feared.

There are heavy political considerations at stake. Captain Reed Riley, who commands one of the Ranger units based at Kelham, is the son of Senator Carlton Riley. The Senator chairs the key Armed Services Committee and has a considerable influence on the impending cuts in military spending and on which of the Armed Services would bear the heaviest burden. Having a combat officer for a son is worth a million votes to the Senator—more, should his son distinguish himself and earn a medal—and powerful forces within the United States Army have taken up the Senator's political interests as their own. They would use any means—fair or especially foul—to prevent any revelation impugning the reputation of the company commanded by Reed Riley. Accordingly, the relentless efforts at a cover-up soon result in even more dead bodies accumulating. Should Reacher find "undesirable" evidence and fail to immediately dispose of it, he might expect to be cashiered or imprisoned—or get killed himself.

Then there's the local sheriff Elizabeth Deveraux. Can Reacher—and should Reacher—trust her and work together with her? He is, in fact, specifically warned to stay away from her—even by his few genuine friends in the army. Still, his more than professional interest is aroused, not only because she is extremely attractive, but also because she turns out to have served sixteen years in the Marines, in a speciality very similar to his. The two of them are, in many ways, kindred souls. Which does not stop Reacher from suspecting that she might have very dark secrets to hide.

Conflicting racial aspects to the case only serve to muddy the waters further. Eventually, the Army's official investigation produces a cast-iron prime suspect—and so does Reacher's undercover snooping. But Reacher's answer is not the same as the Army's. If he keeps quiet, will he be able to live with himself? And if he speaks out, will the army be able to live with him? Only time will tell.
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