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Model organisms

Phosphate and nitrogen are essential elements for plant growth.

Plants can improve their phosphate uptake through symbiosis with arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi (further information can be found at the Brachmann lab).

In addition, legumes and actinorhiza plants can form root nodules in symbiosis with bacteria that convert atmospheric dinitrogen into ammonia, thus providing a potentially unlimited supply of nitrogen to the plant.

The Parniske lab is in the process of unravelling the genetic basis for both root symbioses using both forward and reverse genetic approaches (see TILLING). The long term goal is to provide a complete understanding of the molecular communication between plant and microorganism and the resulting developmental programmes in the plant.