alexa The evolution of specificity in the legume-rhizobium symbiosis.


Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals

Author(s): Young JP, Johnston AW

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Abstract We know more about the partnership between legumes and their root-nodule bacteria than about any other symbiosis or any other plant-microbe interaction. In the light of recent research we are beginning to see details of an elaborate tapestry. The rhizobia are not a self-contained branch on the bacterial tree; their ancestry is intertwined with that of photosynthetic and pathogenic bacteria. Their host ranges, which vary enormously in breadth, overlap to form a tangled web of interconnections between plants and bacteria, and mechanisms of infection and nodule development are more diverse than we once thought. From genetic analysis of the bacteria we learn that specificity is not the province of special 'host-range determinants', but is affected by a wide range of genes with diverse modes of action. The symbiosis is a rich resource for evolutionary fact and speculation, but its complexity and diversity should warn us not to expect easy answers. Copyright © 1989. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This article was published in Trends Ecol Evol and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals

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