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Evolutionary origins of plant/bacteria symbiosis

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The symbiosis between some plant species and nitrogen-fixing nodule bacteria is one of the most relevant cooperative relationships in the world. It shapes our global vegetation and, not least, the global nitrogen and carbon cycle. The foundations for this process were probably laid in just one evolutionary event around 100 million years ago. This was recently discovered by an international research team including scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany. The researchers also identified species that have a genetic predisposition for this symbiosis but never developed it. These plants could help with research on this symbiosis, and on how it could be crossbred into other species.

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