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In The War Between The Sexes, The One With The Closest Fungal Relationship Wins

The war between the sexes has been fought on many fronts throughout time -- from humans to birds to insects, the animal kingdom is replete with species involved in their own skirmishes. A recent study by Dr. Sarah Eppley and colleagues at Portland State University published in the November issue of the American Journal of Botany demonstrates that certain plants, with some help from fungal friends, may also be involved in this fray.

Most flowering plants form symbiotic relationships with mycorrhizal fungi. The plants produce food that the fungi need to survive, and the fungi provide several benefits to plants. They may assist the plants in nutrient uptake, provide protection against fungal pathogens that would harm the plants' roots, and improve the soil structure. With the many benefits these mycorrhizal fungi provide to plants, they have the potential to play a significant role in shaping plant populations.
 
 

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