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Biogeography of nodulated legumes and their nitrogen-fixing symbionts

Sprent, J.I., Ardley, J. and James, E.K. (2017) Biogeography of nodulated legumes and their nitrogen-fixing symbionts. New Phytologist, 215 (1). pp. 40-56.

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In the last decade, analyses of both molecular and morphological characters, including nodulation, have led to major changes in our understanding of legume taxonomy. In parallel there has been an explosion in the number of genera and species of rhizobia known to nodulate legumes. No attempt has been made to link these two sets of data or to consider them in a biogeographical context. This review aims to do this by relating the data to the evolution of the two partners: it highlights both longitudinal and latitudinal trends and considers these in relation to the location of major land masses over geological time. Australia is identified as being a special case and latitudes north of the equator as being pivotal in the evolution of highly specialized systems in which the differentiated rhizobia effectively become ammonia factories. However, there are still many gaps to be filled before legume nodulation is sufficiently understood to be managed for the benefit of a world in which climate change is rife.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Copyright: © 2017 The Authors.
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