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DOE JGI sequences, releases genome of symbiotic tree fungus

n the root is protected from competition with other soil microbes and gains preferential access to carbohydrates within the plant.

Such mycorrhizae are critical to terrestrial ecosystems, Martin said, since approximately 85 percent of all plant species, including trees, are dependent on such interactions to thrive. Mycorrhizae significantly improve photosynthetic carbon assimilation by plants and are estimated to fix more phosphate and nitrogen than the entire worldwide chemical fertilizer industry produces.

"The study and management of such relationships holds immense potential for the agriculture, forestry, and horticulture industries, as well as far-reaching implications for land management policies and the impact of global climate change on plants," said Gopi Podila of UAH.

"This unique research opportunity enables us to advance the understanding of how functional genomics of this symbiosis enhances biomass production and carbon management, particularly through the interaction with the poplar tree, also sequenced by DOE JGI," Rubin said. "We can now harness the interaction between these species and identify the factors involved in biomass production by characterizing the changes that occur between the two genomes as the tree and the fungus collaborate to generate biomass. It also helps us to understand the interaction between these two symbionts within the context of the changing global climate."

"Characterization of the interactions between poplar and its symbiotic associate, Laccaria bicolor, allows us to explore the coordinated response to environmental stressors, such as drought and extreme temperature, and other biological factors, providing a new dimension to climate change research and a step further toward mechanistic modeling of ecosystem responses," Rubin said.


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Contact: David Gilbert
gilbert21@llnl.gov
925-296-5643
DOE/Joint Genome Institute
24-Jul-2006


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