Major

Biology

Anticipated Graduation Year

2021

Access Type

Open Access

Abstract

Nitrogen is the main nutrient limiting plant productivity in both agricultural and natural ecosystems (Vitousek 1997). Plants in the legume family can overcome this constraint by forming symbiotic relationships with nitrogen-fixing bacteria (called rhizobia). This mutualistic relationship is both economically and ecologically important because it is the main source of non-anthropogenically fixed nitrogen in terrestrial systems. The genetic mechanisms controlling strain level specificity (e.g. partner choice) are still largely unknown.

We have attempted to identify the genetic basis of partner specificity in Medicago truncatula, through GWAS analysis and tested whether Medicago genotypes can preferentially associate with the highest quality rhizobial partner by single strain inoculations.

If we can find out the mechanism for this, we can look into ways to modify other crops to possibly do the same to increase crop yields.

Faculty Mentors & Instructors

Dr. Michael Grillo

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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Genetic Basis Of Partner Specificity In Medicago truncatula-Ensifer meliloti Mutualism

Nitrogen is the main nutrient limiting plant productivity in both agricultural and natural ecosystems (Vitousek 1997). Plants in the legume family can overcome this constraint by forming symbiotic relationships with nitrogen-fixing bacteria (called rhizobia). This mutualistic relationship is both economically and ecologically important because it is the main source of non-anthropogenically fixed nitrogen in terrestrial systems. The genetic mechanisms controlling strain level specificity (e.g. partner choice) are still largely unknown.

We have attempted to identify the genetic basis of partner specificity in Medicago truncatula, through GWAS analysis and tested whether Medicago genotypes can preferentially associate with the highest quality rhizobial partner by single strain inoculations.

If we can find out the mechanism for this, we can look into ways to modify other crops to possibly do the same to increase crop yields.