Research Article

Phylogenomics reveals multiple losses of nitrogen-fixing root nodule symbiosis

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Science  13 Jul 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6398, eaat1743
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat1743

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Genomic traces of symbiosis loss

A symbiosis between certain bacteria and their plant hosts delivers fixed nitrogen to the plants. Griesmann et al. sequenced several plant genomes to analyze why nitrogen-fixing symbiosis is irregularly scattered through the evolutionary tree (see the Perspective by Nagy). Various genomes carried traces of lost pathways that could have supported nitrogen-fixing symbiosis. It seems that this symbiosis, which relies on multiple pathways and complex interorganismal signaling, is susceptible to selection and prone to being lost over evolutionary time.

Science, this issue p. eaat1743; see also p. 125