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  • Medicago truncatula root with nodules infected with Nitrogen-fixing rhizobia.

    Taking the Myc: evolution of the legume-rhizobia symbiosis

    The legume family of plants can form a symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria known as rhizobia. In return for a supply of nitrogen compounds the plant provides sugars and houses the rhizobia in special organs called nodules (see figure). The development of the nodules and the infection of rhizobia into them are tightly regulated by the […] More

  • Image: Scene from a mural in the tomb of Sennedjem, Egypt.

    A nod in the right direction?

    Congratulations are in order to the John Innes Centre (Norwich, UK) for its recent award of nearly US$10m ‘to test the feasibility of developing cereal crops capable of fixing nitrogen as an environmentally-sustainable approach for small farmers in sub-Saharan Africa to increase maize yields’. The funding – curiously, for 5 years and 1 month – […] More

  • Plant diversity and functional trait variation

    Plant diversity and functional trait variation

    Plant diversity and functional trait variation Variation in plant traits may potentially influence niche segregation at increasing plant diversity. Gubsch et al. investigate above-ground traits associated with light and nitrogen acquisition among 12 species of Poaceae in grasslands of varying plant diversity, and find that species’ identity plays an important role in shaping the relationship […] More