Physical mapping and map-based cloning strategies are routinely used for identification of candidate genes for major qualitative traits in rice. Such strategies have enabled mapping and characterization of dominant bacterial leaf blight (blb) resistance genes, but little progress has been made in case of the recessive resistance genes. Two recent studies on map-based cloning of xa5 and xa13 recessive blb resistance genes identified the general transcription factor IIA gamma subunit (TFIIA?) and the nodulin MtN21 as candidates, respectively. Subsequently, two other reports have raised discussion on whether the identified candidates are indeed recessive resistance genes, and are sufficient to confer blb resistance in rice. Based on published evidence, and our extensive in silico analyses of the genomic environment around xa5 and xa13 regions, we propose that the recessive gene mediated resistance mechanism is more complex and might not be governed by a single gene.