- The plant genome is a highly redundant and dynamic genome. Here, we show that double antisense plants lacking the two major hydrogen peroxide-detoxifying enzymes, ascorbate peroxidase (APX) and catalase (CAT), activate an alternative/redundant defense mechanism that compensates for the lack of APX and CAT. A similar mechanism was not activated in single antisense plants that lacked APX or CAT, paradoxically rendering these plants more sensitive to oxidative stress compared to double antisense plants. The reduced susceptibility of double antisense plants to oxidative stress correlated with suppressed photosynthetic activity, the induction of metabolic genes belonging to the pentose phosphate pathway, the induction of monodehydroascorbate reductase, and the induction of IMMUTANS, a chloroplastic homologue of mitochondrial alternative oxidase. Our results suggest that a co-ordinated induction of metabolic and defense genes, coupled with the suppression of photosynthetic activity, can compensate for the lack of APX and CAT. In addition, our findings demonstrate that the plant genome has a high degree of plasticity and will respond differently to different stressful conditions, namely, lack of APX, lack of CAT, or lack of both APX and CAT.